By Ellen Walsh

By the time you learn about Sue Sibby’s Organic Ice cream, her order en route to a high end group of grocery stores in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, will have reached it’s final destination. This is not an unusual phenomena. Countries from all over the world send buyers to America to discover the highest quality food products and ingredients the market has to offer. The quality they are in search of is not found in the mass produced markets, rather they are found in the small artisan markets, where the best of the best is in limited supply, and family members gather round for the final round of packaging in order to help make ends meet.

Whereas this tiny little organic ice cream factory situated on her 100 acre farm in Westby, Wisconsin is the dream come true of founder Sue Sibby, the lifestyle that it represents is of magnanimous proportions. “I always wanted to go back to farming and do something the whole family can do, and this really does it”, Sue Sibby, mother of two explains. Although she has cows that graze on over 70 of her acres, she does not milk her own cows. Her neighbor down the street raises cows on her organic farm, and then the milk goes to a local butter plant, and that is where she gets her fresh organic cream.

“I don’t use a lot of ingredients in this. Just organic non fat dried milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolk. Just like they did in the “old world.” No stabilizers.” Instead of having a one year shelf life, it has only a six month shelf life. But when you are small enough, you can get your fresh cream in the morning, and make your ice cream in the afternoon. “ I make only two flavors right now – vanilla and chocolate” . In fact, the vanilla is Madagascar Vanilla – one of the most expensive forms of vanilla there is. And the chocolate is a fair trade cocoa from Costa Rica. They are not only the highest quality ingredients, but they represent purchases made outside the commodity market, insuring the survivability of the local economy where the products come from.

Currently, 5000 pints of Sibby’s Organic Ice cream can be found in over 100 stores, to include Whole Foods in Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis. They’re in over 10 states in all, basically anywhere their distributor UNFI covers. “ My goal is 10,000 pints a month, but at 8,000 pints, my husband gets to retire from FEDEX and work on the ice cream full time.” Sibby adds, with a smile in her voice.

This is pretty good news for Sibby, because business is growing, and the amount of business she has now is paying all the bills. Her entire lifestyle should be in some textbook, demonstrating it is possible to start out small and avoid debt by growing in accordance with your resources.

Sue started thinking about this many years ago. Fifteen, to be exact. She bought her hundred acre non working farm off of her uncles, and sat on the property while she and her husband worked full time and raised their family. Eventually, she began restoring the property, little by little, working first with the historic Norwegian stone silos and barns, and built another barn out of recycled lumber. She then sought out the advice from the business school professors at the University of Madison which took her on the next phase of her journey-- projections, equipment purchase, and all the steps of getting the factory certified organic. “My capacity for production is going to be well over 4 million pints a year, but I don’t have to be that big,” Sue comments. “I just want a place to raise my family and have everyone feel a part of something bigger than them.”

This organic ice cream business is a symbol of a growing phenomena in America. Just when you thought all the inherent problems of mass produced food would pop open at the seams and bring with it a trail of safety problems, higher costs, and healthy food issues, the other side of the “pop” turns out to be a return to the small, local producer, who not only produces a higher quality product, but keeps the money in the hands of the local producers. When you see an organic product on the shelves, you are usually seeing the fruition of someone’s deep rooted vision of health, environmental, and economic issues. You are rarely looking at the result of Madison Avenue’s advertising teams pouring over images designed to lull you into buying their product.

Whereas these products are slowly making their way on to American grocery shelves everywhere, they are already overseas, where appreciative foreign markets from all over the globe scarf up limited quantity, very expensive products that carry the health profile they are looking for. In those markets, price is not the issue, only quality is.

Sibby’s Organic Ice cream is extremely well priced , even below the non organic super brands, and maybe we have that good ole Wisconsin soil to thank for that. Her goal was to bring ‘em all back to the farm, and she succeeded in that. What’s next for Sibby?
Just keep on making more ice cream.

Sibby Farms, Inc.
S2987 Sebion Road
Westby, Wisconsin 54667
Phone: 608-634-3828
Fax: 608-634-2605



NutraFoodies |  Food & Beverage International  |  California the Magazine   | Who's In The Store 
Market-Place |  Nutra News |  New Products |  Advertisers |  Archives
  | Natural & Organic  | Events  Shop-Online
Articles  |  Travel Links
|  Natural Organic  Healthy Sustainable  Renewable  |  About Us |  Media Kit

©2007 - 2008 NutraFoodies Magazine
All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us | Feedback