Between FoMu’s two locations in Allston and Jamaica Plain, the new dairy-free ice cream Just Bananas and the recent Ben & Jerry’s announcement that they’re working on a line of milk-less frozen treats, this is truly a golden age for Greater Boston’s vegan, lactose intolerant and combination vegan/lactose intolerant ice cream lovers. But we only know of one local ice cream alternative that’s delivered by tricycle, and that’s Scoop Sights.
Scoop Sights is the brainchild of Cambridge’s Katelyn Williams, who was inspired to explore unique frozen treats by her lactose and gluten intolerant younger sister. One year at Christmas, Williams wanted to make ice cream for everyone in her family. Not wanting to exclude her sis, she found herself frantically Googling recipes that didn’t call for dairy. The one she ended up making was, shall we say, less than ideal.
“It turned out horribly,” she laughs. “It was a total flop—it was icy and just not good.”
Conveniently, the great dairy-free debacle happened at a time when Williams was trying to figure out a direction in life. She grew up hoping to have a career like her mother, who owns her own contracting company—a job where no two days are exactly the same. (“My dad was always like, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to be an engineer?'” she says. “And I was like, ‘…No, thank you!'”) Inspired by that less-than-perfect batch of dairy free ice cream, she developed an obsession with concocting a delicious frozen formula on her own. She began experimenting with different sweeteners and emulsifiers, and, over time, created the perfect pint without using milk, gluten, soy or nuts.
By the summer of 2013, Williams was ready to take her sweets to the streets. She bought a tricycle and started dishing out pops and pints throughout Cambridge and at area farmers markets—including SOWA Market, where she sold out of ice cream pops during her very first appearance. Because Scoop Sights ice cream contains no lactose, gluten, nuts, soy or GMOs, it’s popular with a broad range of people who have food sensitivities. (Even the forthcoming Ben & Jerry’s line will be made with almond milk.)
Scoop Sights is currently available by delivery and at farmers markets, and Williams eventually wants to offer her frozen concoctions in stores throughout the area. She thinks she might try to open her own brick-and-mortar shop eventually, but that’s a long-term goal. For now, she’s seeking funding to grow her business through a “Scoopstarter” campaign in the hopes of, among other things, moving into a larger kitchen space and hiring a few employees.
Through selling her sweets at markets, Williams has befriended other makers doing work that’s similar to her own, and she says they’ve been a great resource. But she didn’t go to culinary school (or business school, for that matter) and teaching herself everything as she goes has been a bit of a learning curve. On the afternoon we spoke, she had plans to check out a free seminar about how to get a business loan. It can be daunting, building a business from the ground up, but she’s ready to face any challenges that come her way.
“I think that’s what people don’t talk about a lot in starting to be their own person or open their own business—all the self doubt that comes before,” she says. “It’s gonna be scary, but I’ve been learning to let myself have my scared time. I know that it’ll always flush out and I’ll always keep moving forward.”