OU Kosher: You fell in love with ice cream while working on a small farm in Pennsylvania as a child, churning homemade ice cream. How did you journey from there to founding Adirondack Creamery?
Adirondack Creamery (Paul Nasrani): In the early 2000s, I was the CFO of a New York City company and felt an urge to start my own venture. I obsessively crafted ice cream recipes, making notes on each batch. I visited numerous ice cream establishments, picking the brains of the owners. Our ice cream is rooted in an old-fashioned recipe: cream, milk, sugar, and eggs. We avoid stabilizers, emulsifiers, and artificial additives. Our mission is simple: premium ingredients and locally-sourced when possible.
OU Kosher: Tell us more about your growth and introduction to kosher certification.
Paul Nasrani: I purchased used ice cream equipment from an auction in Grand Central Station and began producing. We built connections with farmers and soon started supplying to places like Whole Foods and Fairway. Around that time, we sought kosher certification. Today, we’re present in Whole Foods, Wegmans, and areas from New York City to Washington DC. Our consistent recipe, combined with unique flavors like Syrian date walnut or pistachio cardamom, makes us stand out.
OU Kosher: Can you speak to the transition from a steady career to launching your business?
Paul Nasrani: The switch was daunting, moving from a stable job to the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. But the drive was undeniable. The joy of crafting ice cream and connecting with people in the process was irresistible. Sure, it was a drastic change, but one that has been immensely rewarding.
OU Kosher: Were there moments of doubt?
Paul Nasrani: Absolutely, challenges are inevitable. But looking at the bigger picture, I wouldn’t change anything. We’ve grown our company organically, with a tight-knit team, and people like John Katz adding immense value.
OU Kosher: How widespread is your distribution?
John Katz (Director of Operations): We consider ourselves a regional company, predominantly in the Northeast corridor, ranging from central and Eastern New York to Washington DC.
OU Kosher: Have there been mistakes along the way?
Paul Nasrani: Every day. Mistakes around ingredient sourcing, delivery methods, and even pricing. But we learn and adapt. Our focus remains on delivering top-quality ice cream, not fleeting trends. We aim to be a staple in families’ freezers, with a genuine commitment to New York state producers and farmers.
OU Kosher: Can you share your production volume?
John Katz: We produce between 60 and 80,000 gallons of ice cream annually. We’ve come a long way from producing small batches in a kitchen. And though we’re not global, we have a strong presence in our region.
OU Kosher: Do you produce in-house?
Paul Nasrani: We used to run our facility, but as we grew, we partnered with family farm dairy processing plants for co-packaging. The scale of investment required for our own upgraded facility didn’t make financial sense. Some of our partners have decades of experience, which is invaluable.
OU Kosher: The kosher certification has been impactful for Adirondack Creamery. What has been its influence on your brand’s growth and connection with the community?
Adirondack Creamery: The kosher certification helped us establish our customer base, especially in New York City. It’s difficult to call yourself a local brand here without it. It’s been great for us, and we feel it’s a way to support and connect with the community even more.
OU Kosher: I’m curious about your favorite flavors. Can you share some insights into the ones you love the most?
John Katz: The best flavor, launching at the end of this month, is the Kashmiri Tawa. It has a delightful blend of cinnamon, cloves, saffron, nutmeg, and cardamom. It’s incredibly rich and has become my favorite. My second choice would be the Black Raspberry and third, the Date and Walnut. The latter has date puree and ground walnuts, offering a complex and delightful taste.
Paul Nasrani: Mint Chip has always been my favorite since childhood. I also love our Peppermint Stick, which reminds me of the holiday season. Another one close to my heart is the Kashmiri Kava because of its connection to my wife’s family. I’m proud of our Syrian Date and Walnut flavor. Its packaging carries a message of peace in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, highlighting that people, despite their backgrounds, have more in common than differences.
OU Kosher: Can you speak about your efforts towards addressing food insecurity and community impact?
Paul Nasrani: Absolutely. One initiative we’re passionate about is our partnership with a food bank in Rochester, NY. Inspired by the ice cream truck model, they provide meals to children and families during the summer. We’ve introduced “Ice Cream Fridays,” where we accompany the food van, offering a scoop of our ice cream to those who receive a meal. This not only brings joy but also raises awareness about the program. We believe in taking action and inspiring our customers to get involved in their communities.
John Katz: Tackling food insecurity typically involves government handouts and staples. But what we’re doing is different. We’re creating access to premium products. It’s a unique approach that merges charity with solidarity.
OU Kosher: The journey of Adirondack Creamery is truly inspiring. Thank you for your time, Paul and John. We wish you continued success. When you expand into food services, let us know. We’d be happy to share your story further.
Paul Nasrani: We’re always looking to reach more community-focused grocery stores and chains. Thanks for your support, Gary.
John Katz: Gary, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for giving us this platform.https://www.adirondackcreamery.com/