Marketplace: Wasatch Creamery serves up locally sourced ice cream
It all started when Kris Tart started making homemade ice cream and bringing it to birthday celebrations. Her friends began requesting her ice cream whenever there was a get-together, and word quickly spread of Tart’s renowned creamy treat.
Before long, she started selling the ice cream at a farmers market, and now she is the founder and owner of Wasatch Creamery. She sells ice cream at markets and some stores around Summit County.
Tart had been complimented on her cooking for years. She left Park City with her husband in 2001 to attend a culinary school in San Francisco, then worked in several restaurants in the West, including Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. It was there that she was taken under the wing of a pastry chef and taught the craft of ice cream making.
Tart returned to Park City with her husband after a year in Boulder and ran Park City Mountain Resort’s catering department until her position changed under the ownership of Vail Resorts. She spent a summer working in the pastry department at Deer Valley Resort before deciding to start Wasatch Creamery in the summer of 2016.
Ice cream seemed like a good fit because she had a natural talent, but also because she saw a hole in the market for locally sourced ice cream. The cream, milk and butter she uses come from local farmers, and she tries to incorporate Utah-grown fruits when she can. Oftentimes, she trades ingredients with farmers for ice cream at markets, she said.
After serving at farmers markets, she expanded to the Park Silly Sunday Market, which she said helped launch the business.
“Without Park Silly, I would not be as far as I am,” she said. “It is a really great business incubator. You can see if this idea that you have is going to work. I was shocked when it did work.”
During the time, she said that she was frequently putting in 90-hour work weeks, averaging about one to two all-nighters each week. She would spend 10 to 15 hours a week trying out different recipes until she settled on ones that she loved. Now, she has flavors like salted Oreo, lavender blueberry, brown butter, as well as ginger and lime with white chocolate. One day, she was craving a Moscow Mule while working in the kitchen and decided to make an ice cream flavor inspired by the drink.
Though experimenting can be frustrating, she is always happy when she discovers the perfect recipe.
“The chef in me loves the creative process,” she said.
Now, she said that business is growing. She recently purchased a new ice cream machine and plans to hire an assistant this summer to help with the multiple events and businesses that she sells ice cream to.
Her ice cream is available for purchase at the Twisted Fern, Campos Coffee, Pink Elephant Coffee and Victory Ranch in Kamas, as well as local markets and the Copper Moose Farm Stand. She hopes to get into local specialty stores in a couple of months and, eventually, have a storefront. She currently works out of a shared commercial kitchen in Heber.
She loves the work, especially because so many positive feelings are associated with her product.
“Ice cream makes people happy, and I love to make people happy,” she said.
But there are times when the reality of her success hits her and she said that the future looks intimidating. Then she remembers that even though she had no idea what she was doing when she started, she somehow figured it out. Along each step, she continues to do that.
“It is super scary,” she said. “Part of me very much misses having a real paycheck, but it is really cool to actually be able to build something from nothing.”
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