A first-of-its-kind New Zealand-style ice cream shop, Far Out Ice Cream, set to open Nov. 5, is coming to Brookline, MA. The unique concept of Far Out Ice Cream was founded on the principle of spreading happiness, and to August Radbill (he/him), 30, co-founder and co-owner of Far Out Ice Cream, that meant a plant-based alternative to their dairy ice cream was integral to the core values of his business plan.
Far Out Ice Cream aims to serve vegans and non-vegans alike, with the plant-based options on the menu being almost equal in selection to the dairy ice cream available. While the in-house made waffle cones and chocolate flavor are not vegan, Radbill is in the process of creating gluten-free and vegan waffle cones as well as adding dairy-free chocolate ice cream to the menu. According to Radbill, having a dairy-free option was inevitable.
Radbill, Co-Founder of Far Out
“Anyone who claims to be sustainable in any way knows you shouldn’t be consuming animals. It was just like, okay, so, where are we going to get our dairy and where are we gonna get our non-dairy ice cream? Thinking about it now and talking with you, it’s like yeah, that’s not obvious, a lot of ice cream businesses don’t even think about non-dairy. To be honest with you it was never even a conversation.” said Radibill.
The concept of Far Out was inspired by the time Radbill spent in New Zealand, where he discovered the country’s unique spin on ice cream on a suggestion given by his now business partner Drew Beja. Beja had visited New Zealand prior to Radbill, and told him it was vital to try their ice cream, something Radbill admittedly sneered at until the opportunity was presented to him to do so. After eating the New Zealand ice cream, Radbill had an epiphanic moment- he knew he wanted to bring the frozen dessert from down-under to the North East.
Radbill also worked on fruit farms during his time spent in New Zealand, and learned to deeply appreciate local and sustainable farming methods. For this reason, Radbill sought out local vendors to supply his dairy and some of the fruit, such as blueberries, for his business. Far Out Ice Cream is partnered with Maple Valley Creamery in Hadley, MA who provide their ice cream and the Siegel Egg Company in North Billerica who provide the fruit.
Maple Valley Creamery also supplies the non-dairy ice cream available at Far Out. While it seems peculiar for a dairy farm to take on the creation and production of a vegan product, Radbill believed the ethics of Maple Valley Creamery to be superior to others in the dairy industry, and trusted Bruce Jenks, owner of Maple Valley Creamery to create a quality product:
“For us, part of our ethos is to be as sustainable as possible. And I know that’s counterintuitive to ice cream generally. But the farm we work with for our vanilla ice cream is grass fed cows. Generally, when you do grass fed, it’s one acre per cow, and they have 12 acres per cow. So the whole idea of the farm is just about the best possible way that we can treat the animal,” Radbill continued. “We had a non-dairy supplier in western Mass, it was good, not great and they just were kind of unreliable…. So I reached out to Bruce asking ‘do you know anyone that can do non-dairy ice cream’, and he goes ‘just give me an hour. Just get back to me in 10 minutes because we can do it.’”
Jenks worked alongside the UMass Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture, who created the coconut-based ice cream recipe used to make the unique frozen dessert Radbill brought to MA.
So what makes New Zealand style ice cream different from what you would find in a traditional ice cream shop? Far Out scoops hard ice cream into a speciality funnel-like machine sourced from New Zealand that then churns and mixes the ice cream with fruit of the customer’s choice, such as mango, pineapple and blueberry. The result is a creamy, yet icy soft-serve blend of vanilla ice cream and the natural sweetness of fruit.
Before opening their brick-and-mortar location in Brookline, Far Out hosted a series of pop-up locations throughout MA, starting in Hull in the summer of 2020 and eventually outside of the House of Blues in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. Radbill claims the non-dairy ice cream contributed to their initial success.
“I’d say, you know, anywhere between a fifth to a third of our ice cream sales are in non-dairy and then we’ve had, and this is the best part, people who would never think in a million years to have a non-dairy ice cream who will deliberately order the non-dairy when they have no restrictions or anything, and then they prefer it, it’s that good.” explains Radbill.
In addition to their ice cream, Far Out is partnered with Night Shift Brewing who operate out of Everett, MA, to provide Far Out with a special coffee blend served on tap. Radbill stresses the importance of their location in the JFK Crossing neighborhood of Brookline, which is in close proximity to Boston University and Coolidge Corner. Radbill hopes for Far Out to be a community-driven business where students, children, and parents feel comfortable sitting and getting work done, which is why they also offer free wi-fi, muffins, coffee, and indoor seating.
“I could say this again and again, it’s about happiness. It’s about the happiness of our team. It’s about the happiness of the people we work with. And most of all, the happiness of most of our customers,” explains Radbill. “If we just focus on that as our Northstar, the byproduct of those things, we believe, is a fantastic organization. Hopefully that’s the idea. We’re putting a lot of a big bet on happiness.”