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Fresh Venture in a Cone at Whiting’s Dutch Isle

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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. — Until three years ago, Duke Whiting had no experience in the ice cream business. Then in 2013, during an estate auction he conducted at the site of the Dutch Isle Ice Cream Shop in New Wilmington, Pa. – the owners had lived in the house next door – he bought the ice cream shop.

After years as an auctioneer, it was an entirely new field for Whiting.

“There’s no recipes. There’s no books. There’s nothing. The machine was half put together and I had to call a guy to teach me how to finish it,” Whiting says.

That winter, his wife, Shana, registered him for Penn State’s “Ice Cream 101” course as a birthday gift. It was the same course Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – yes, Ben & Jerry – took years ago. During the course, the class discussed how to freeze ice cream for long-term storage. It was then that Whiting realized he didn’t have the space he needed to make large quantities of ice cream.

And that, he says, is what makes the ice cream at Dutch Isle, 3664 state Route 208 in New Wilmington, so good.

“You don’t have to have extreme cold storage if you make fresh ice cream, but you’re always going to be making fresh ice cream every day. I was there last night and I got home at 4 o’clock this morning,” he says. “We have the freshest ice cream available anywhere. It came out of the machine this morning and I’m serving it tonight.”

The ingredients he uses to make the ice cream are all locally sourced, he adds. Marburger Farm Dairy in Evans City, Pa., furnishes the milk while the ice cream bases come from Titusville Dairy. Beyond that, cookies for the shop’s ice cream sandwiches come from Sweet Chessie’s Bakery in New Wilmington and the burgers and bacon come from right down Route 208 at Whiting Meats, owned by his father and brother.

“You can’t get any fresher than going down the street to the factory your brother owns to buy it,” Whiting says. “And for our ice cream sandwiches, I’ve got a local bakery making me great, big, fat cookies that I shove some ice cream between. They’re to die for.”

With three summers of experience under his belt, Whiting says he’s come to see the biggest difference between the auction and ice cream industries: the number of smiles.

“At auctions, sometimes you’ve got one item that everyone wants. One guy gets it and he’s happy,” he explains. “But not everybody else is. At an ice cream shop, everybody’s always happy.”

Pictured above: The Whiting family – Duke, Reagan, Remington, Cash and Shana – runs Dutch Isle Ice Cream Shop in New Wilmington, Pa. The shop uses local dairy and meats.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.