Like many startup businesses founded on family recipes, Lemon Dream Ice Cream first got the thumb's up from proprietors' friends.
"I always have friends asking me for more," says Talent resident Courtney Stiemert.
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Unlike so many other endeavors, the dessert already had endured more than 50 years of refining and testing by one of the country's foremost quality-control experts.
"My grandfather came up with this recipe about 75 years ago," says Stiemert, 48.
Her grandfather was W. Edwards Deming, a statistician who worked as a consultant to manufacturers, consumer researchers, transportation companies, hospitals, legal firms, government entities and universities. He lives on through his namesake institute, based in California, a prestigious prize awarded to Japanese companies that excel at quality control and — since June — Lemon Dream Ice Cream.
"Once he conquered the lemon, he pretty much stuck with that," says Stiemert. "We mostly made it for holidays."
Since Lochmead Farms in Junction City started making Lemon Dream to Stiemert's specifications late last year, fans can enjoy it year-round. Lemon Dream will be among the featured, local vendors at a free Saturday fete at Ashland Food Co-op. The chance to sample and meet about 20 artisan producers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. coincides with the annual Eat Local Challenge.
A free sneak peak of Lemon Dream is planned for noon to 3 p.m. today at the culinary kiosk inside the Co-op, 237 N. First St., Ashland. The Co-op has stocked the ice cream since July. Harry & David Country Village has sold Lemon Dream since late last year when it was packaged in plain, white cartons. Pints retail for $5.99.
Inside the new, sky-blue container with cloud-shaped logo and yellow accents is evaporated milk, cream from Lochmead's own cows, sugar, pure lemon and vanilla extracts and fresh lemon juice.
"It's six ingredients, and you can pronounce all of them," says Stiemert. "It's not too sweet."
Locust-bean gum, a natural stabilizer, was added to Lemon Dream's commercial recipe. A half-cup serving has 120 calories and 4 grams of fat.
Stiemert's husband, 59-year-old David Stiemert, points out that Lemon Dream has about half the fat of Ben & Jerry's or Haagen-Dazs. Not as lemony as most types of sorbet, Lemon Dream is rich and custardy without containing any eggs.
The family attests that they never get tired of lemon — particularly served with fresh berries — and plan to see how far the flavor can take them before they consider formulating others. The next fruit most suited to their recipe is orange.
"We made it, and it tastes just like a Creamsicle," says David Stiemert.
Lemon Dream tasters frequently say the ice cream tastes old-fashioned or reminds them of childhood, the Stiemerts say. But it's just as popular with ice-cream aficionados still in childhood.
Access to virtually unlimited quantities of Lemon Dream make 10-year-old Bryce Stiemert popular with friends and teachers. If Bryce could have his way, though, the family would branch out to banana.
"I don't really like chocolate."
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