ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Rachel Burns speaks money.
“That’s a good way to say it because I always struggle with saying it in a way that is like, you know, not boring and makes sense,” she said with a laugh.
Burns’ day job is working as an investment consultant, helping corporations handle their money. But she has a pretty sweet side gig that just about any of us would love to dabble in.
She makes small-batch ice cream with flavors that are so gourmet you just can’t help but want to give them a taste.
It all started with a problem in her yard.
“We had this crazy patch of mint in our backyard. And if you’ve ever grown mint, the more you kind of ignore it, the more it flourishes,” Burns explained during an interview for 5 On Your Side’s Abby Eats St. Louis podcast.
They ended up with more mint than they knew what to do with. Not even several rounds of mojitos could take care of the abundance of mint in their home.
“We consumed probably more mojitos than we should have,” she said with a smile. “But they’re so delicious. Even with that, we weren’t even kind of putting a dent in it.”
On a whim in 2017, she thought to dig out the old ice cream maker collecting dust in her basement to whip up a batch of mint ice cream. Burns and her husband were having friends over to go swimming and then they indulged in the summertime treat.
“So, then it became kind of a thing. Like every time they came over, I did my ice cream,” she recalled.
The tradition continued in 2018, but something different churned inside of her last year.
“I can't really put my finger on kind of what was the catalyst, but last year in the spring, I just became obsessed with ice cream. I mean, I've always loved it because I’m a consumer of it, but I mean obsessed in terms of like developing my own recipes, playing with new flavors,” she said.
Even date nights helped spark flavor inspiration.
“So that's one of the flavors we have now, goat cheese and figs, started in that way,” she recalled.
Other gourmet flavors reminiscent of a fancy dinner out on the town include balsamic glaze, lemon curd, salted chocolate, mixed berry and, of course, garden mint.
The hobby stirred a fire inside her so strong that she didn’t want to put it on ice. So, Burns turned her ice cream hobby into a business plan. She launched Bold Spoon Creamery last fall.
But just as her ice cream dreams were about to become a reality the coronavirus pandemic put a freeze on things. Still, she carved a path forward and swapped out her Cuisinart ice cream machine for an industrial version, which happened to be delivered the second week of March.
“We took delivery and then paused for a little bit to figure out the different path and then move forward,” she said, explaining that the original plan was to sell to restaurants, which were closing down at the time during stay-at-home orders. “The different path we moved forward with was to go to an online model.”
Burns said even her best-laid plans were uprooted by the pandemic, but she still learned lessons along the way.
“Don't let the quest for perfection get in the way of progress. Like, you just need something that is good enough to present to the world and a commitment to continue to love what you're doing. And I think it will work out,” she said.
That journey helped Burns realize what possibly led her down this sweet path to begin with – the way ice cream can bring people together, even now when we need to be socially distant.
“It’s kind of a way that people connect for a bit,” she said. “When we have people over to have it. No one is looking at their phones. No one is. They're just focused on the people around them. They're having fun. They're laughing.”
“And honestly, people are usually a little bit happier when they have ice cream around. I mean, I’ve never seen people eat ice cram fighting or eat ice cream when they’re irate. It just makes them a little bit happier.”
Check out Bold Spoon Creamery's website to find out where to find it and how to get it delivered to your home.
This story is a companion piece to the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast episode called "Be bold (and eat the ice cream)". This 5 On Your Side podcast is available for free on all major podcast platforms. We’ve included links to some of the most popular platforms below.
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