By: Jai Jones
It all started out with a love for ice cream.
While living in New York, Marc and Alissa, co-owners of Off Track, loved going out for ice cream whenever they could. It happened often enough that they eventually decided it was worth trying to make it at home as a hobby. As they experimented over time creating the ice cream they loved going out for in their own kitchen, they realized that it was possible to do so with ingredients available at the grocery store- more importantly without many of the preservatives and other artificial ingredients not essential in creating great ice cream. They felt that more people needed to experience this, thus the idea of Off Track was born.
Since they opened last year on Beaufain Street, Off Track has had a commitment to using local ingredients and supporting purveyors in the Lowcountry as much as possible. It began by working with GrowFood Carolina to see what they could get locally from relationships they have with purveyors and branching out from there over the past few months.
Much of the Off Track story focuses on these relationships: going to the farms to see the hens that in turn produce the egg yolks used in their ice cream, knowing local purveyors on a first-name basis, and being able to collaborate with others who are just as passionate about their craft as Marc and Alissa are about ice cream. Their latest flavor? Wildflower Honey: a collaboration with Red Clay using their Barrel Aged Southern Honey.
I joined Marc and Alissa of Off Track, with Pippa and Riley from Red Clay over two days to hear all about how this collaboration came to be and to see the the first batch of this collaboration come to life.
Why is it so important to Off Track to keep everything as local as possible when sourcing ingredients for your flavors?
Alissa: Marc and I are very passionate about our ice cream, our recipes and the ingredients we use, so we want to work with farmers, purveyors, and chefs locally who are just as passionate about their products as we are about ours. Getting to work with other people that have the same sort of passion as we do is phenomenal, and also super inspiring to Marc and I. Not to mention, because of the great passion they put behind their craft, the quality of these locally-sourced ingredients is unparalleled. Using these local ingredients that are created with such thought and care just makes our ice cream that much better.
Marc: You also get to know the people you’re getting ingredients from by their first names. All of our chocolate is brought over by Bethany (Cocoa Academic) who makes the chocolate or John her husband. And David (Wishbone Heritage Farms) brings us the eggs we use every Thursday. It’s just a great community.
How did the collaboration between Off Track and Red Clay happen?
Pippa: I met Marc and Alissa from Off Track back in November, and they were just incredibly interesting and obviously amazing at what they do. Right when I started with Red Clay, I was trying to figure out who would be great to work with as partners going forward. Off Track was the first I thought of, so I reached out and they were just as excited about it as we were about working together.
The flavor is like a dream come true- it’s so incredibly exciting. And I’m glad that it’s been a natural partnership- what Off Track does is so smart and thought out – I feel incredibly lucky to be working with a team like them.
What makes Red Clay Southern Honey special?
Pippa: All Red Clay Honey is bourbon barrel-aged, raw and unpasteurized. A lot of honey is filtered and loses some of the nutrients through that process, but all of ours is raw Wildflower Georgia honey. It has a rich dark brown color, is super thick and really delicious – and because of its time in the bourbon barrel, it has a unique funk to it with a woodsy deliciousness that’s a little Southern.
Why is this collaboration with Red Clay so exciting for Off Track?
Marc: This is the first ice cream we’ve made that is 100% refined sugar-free. Instead of cane sugar, we sweeten this ice cream by using just Wildflower Honey from Red Clay. Second- I get super excited when we make a flavor that is truly unique to us- this is a flavor of ice cream that anyone can really enjoy and I think it could become a classic for us.
The 5 ingredients that make up the new Wildflower Honey Ice Cream by Off Track:
Cream: Sourced via Limehouse Produce in North Charleston, SC
Milk: Lowcountry Creamery- Bowman, SC
100% Pure, Raw Wildflower Honey: Red Clay Barrel Aged Southern Honey- Charleston, SC
Non-GMO Pasture-Raised Egg Yolks: Wishbone Heritage Farms- St. George, SC
Sea Salt: Bulls Bay Saltworks- McClellanville, SC
Jai Jones is a creative + writer based out of Charleston, SC. He is also a member of the Charleston Wine + Food Brand Ambassador team. You can connect with him on Instagram at @jaieats and on his blog, jaieats.com