A fairly shocking announcement was made in Winnipeg this morning when Lisa Dyck shared the news that her celebrated ice cream company, Cornell Creme, would be ceasing operations. Dyck has been producing artisanal ice cream using high quality dairy from her farm, Cornell Dairy which she runs with her husband Willian and was (and still is) the province's first small-scale dairy producer/processor, located about 40 minutes east of the city.
"We will be forever grateful for the spot you made for us in your freezers, on your tables and in your hearts. I have adored these past five years, making a product that people have loved as much as I did and being a part of the amazing group of people in the Manitoba local food community," wrote Dyck in a heartfelt message posted both on Cornell Creme's Facebook and Instagram accounts earlier this morning. The ice cream maker points to a mix of reasons for deciding to close down the business, citing rising ingredient costs, increase in production and personal reasons.
Though Cornell Creme never had a storefront, it sprung to popularity shortly after beginning production in 2012. Now, the lineup of ice cream can be found easily at many markets, shops and restaurants in Winnipeg, as well as in Saskatchewan and Ontario. Plenty of Winnipeg food fans and active community members were shocked to read the news today.
"Lisa went out and pursued a dream. What she created, people in Winnipeg, myself included, fell in love with," says Pamela Kirkpatrick, general manager of Forth. "Her creations weren't just 'ice cream', they were amazing products that spoke to her values, ethics and heart as a local producer."
Dear friends, It is with great sadness that I announce the closure of Cornell Creme ice cream. Closing this business is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. Due to a number of factors, including rising production and ingredient costs and my own personal reasons, we will not make any more Cornell Creme ice cream. I started Cornell Creme in 2012 as a small side business, using milk from my family’s farm to make real ice cream for one Winnipeg restaurant. It was a passion project that quickly snowballed into something much bigger. In the blink of an eye, it seemed, we were making a product for retail and stores were actually contacting us to carry our ice cream. I can’t give enough thanks to the stores, who have continued to carry and promote our products over the years. We were so fortunate to have so many passionate people to help spread the word about our ice cream. Product sales are certainly not the problem, thanks to the support of our retailers and loyal customers, who continue to purchase and spread the word about Cornell Creme. We will be forever grateful for the spot you made for us in your freezers, on your tables and in your hearts. I have adored these past five years, making a product that people have loved as much as I did and being a part of the amazing group of people in the Manitoba local food community. But sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to Cornell Creme. Looking back on this experience with you will always put a smile on my face. Thanks for the memories Manitoba! With gratitude, Lisa Dyck
Mike Green, a former CBC food news reporter and current Tourism Winnipeg representative further echoes Kirkpatrick's sentiments on Dyck creating something both genuine and unique for the Manitoba food scene.
“It’s a particularly sad day for ice cream fans in Manitoba. Aside from the fact that we’ll no longer be able to get Cornell’s Lemon Meringue–which is one of best ice creams I’ve ever had–no one was doing what Lisa was doing, which was taking milk directly from her dairy farm in Anola and bringing it into the city to make truly unique and rich ice creams," says Green.
He continues, "From a personal standpoint, one of my favourite CBC Radio stories I did was with Lisa on her farm. During the interview, while I was recording her and not paying attention to the cows behind me, one of them came up and literally licked my face while we were recording," he explains, laughing. "It made for great audio, and we concluded the interview over ice cream in her yard along with her mom.”
If you need to eat your feelings to help digest this sad announcement, best head out to find a pint or two (or three) before they're gone for good.