Sweet sustainability: Bicycle-powered ice cream maker comes to DTLA
Edward Belden has been making ice cream for two years now -- churning it out on his specially made bike.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Seated on a powder blue, man-size tricycle is Edward Belden, demonstrating how he uses his pedals and a hand crank to churn out a creative array of ice cream flavors on his bicycle.
"There's so many ingredients in the world and the possibilities are endless," said Belden. "You can mix onion into ice cream and make something great happen."
Peddler's Creamery, Belden's company, isn't churning out onion-flavored sweets, but producing playful combinations of ice cream flavors like Strawberry Basil sorbet and Mexican Chocolate.
He uses organic, high-quality ingredients; getting his milk from a Northern California producer and sourcing as many ingredients as he can from California.
"Vanilla and chocolate don't grow in the States," Belden said, classifying these as "exotic flavors" that he'd use, but have to get from abroad.
It's been two years since Belden started making ice cream, and now he's planning on opening a Downtown location this coming summer.
"I didn't want to do a traditional business," he said. "I wanted to do something that's geared towards creating a sustainable world."
Belden said he wasn't sure exactly how much energy he saved by using a bike as a power source, but he did say that the larger and more industrial the ice cream makers get, the more energy they require.
"As you scale up, you're obviously using more electricity, so that's one thing ill be able to offset," he added.
The idea of using a bicycle to churn ice cream is fairly new to Belden, but he's adapted quickly. Although he didn't want to give away trade secrets, he said making a batch on the bike definitely takes less than an hour -- about the equivalent of a three-mile bike ride.
Belden's love of ice cream is deep and longstanding. His first real job was at Baskin Robbins, and it's here he professionally scooped his first scoop.
"I loved seeing that feeling of everyone having an ice cream cone in their hand and being happy and excited; enjoying the summer day," he said.
In recent years, Belden's done a lot of flavor experimentation and even made a trip to Wisconsin -- the dairy mecca -- to see how the pros do it.
Some of his experimental flavors include salted caramel, kumquat sorbet and mango chile. Belden's also experimenting with vegan-friendly, dairy alternatives such as using a coconut base instead of milk. Next up for Belden? He wont give details, but flavors may include turmeric and/or wasabi.
Belden's started a kickstarter to try and raise $15,000 to help get his retail store up-and-running. His incentives for backers include t-shirts, pints of ice cream and the chance to create your own ice cream flavor.
In addition to being spotted at bike-friendly CicLAvia events, Belden said he plans to start attending farmers markets and other community gatherings. Next month he'll be dishing out bike-made creations at the Hammer Museum's "Bike Night" -- a celebration of all things biketastic.