MilkMade, Brooklyn, N.Y., takes the personal touch to a new level.  The company delivers its pints right to its customers’ doors each month. MilkMade runs an ice cream of the month membership program. It processes ice cream a few gallons at a time and then hand-packs and personally labels every pint for its members. The MilkMade team (called milkmaids) loads the pints onto their bike baskets and literally hand-delivers the ice cream to its members’ homes or offices.

Founder Diana Hardeman began the business in her East Village apartment kitchen, armed with only a small ice cream machine. She fell into the business kind of by accident, motivated by a desire to create a “better pint.” Her focus was on creating flavors using fresh and local ingredients. Those “ice cream experiments” soon drew a cult following via social media and word-of-mouth, according to the company website. The ice cream of the month subscription service officially launched in the winter of 2009, and since then has served thousands of local members in New York City. 

Hardeman works closely with local farmers’ markets to find the freshest and most local ingredients to create the ice cream.

“Each new flavor we create has a story behind it,” said Hardeman. “We dig in, find the origin of the flavor, the history of the name, or the story behind the farms with whom we partner. This way, it is a true experience, not just simply a flavor.”

She said she finds flavor inspiration everywhere, “From the farmers’ market, to the cake dessert we just ate, to a funny name that I want to turn into an ice cream flavor. Sometimes the ingredient comes first, sometimes the flavor combo, sometimes the name.”

Read our original report on artisan ice cream here — "Putting the art back in ice cream."