When Hippies Make Ice Cream: The Tasty Tale of the Penny Ice Creamery

Penny Ice Creamery SignDelicious. Quirky. Wholesome. And oh so organic.

That is what you get when you combine the earthy wisdom of Santa Cruz culture with a best loved dessert favorite at The Penny Ice Creamery.

And did I mention that the owners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis were invited to represent their business at the White House? But first, let me discuss the important stuff:

The amazing ice cream.

The Penny Ice Creamery, a local business in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, serves up homemade specialty ice cream daily. Come sample flavors from the exotic balsamic fig or cayenne dried apricot to the more classic Chocolate Raspberry or Tahitian Vanilla Bean. Their daily menu features a variety of flavors for both the adventurous and modest palette.

The Flavors and Ingredients

Penny’s serves seven unique flavors each day, with two constant staples. You can expect to enjoy the Chocolate Sorbet and Tahitian Vanilla Bean each day. The other flavors rotate every few days, so be sure to check their website or Facebook page for today’s flavors.

Typical flavors include:

Burnt Cinnamon
Strawberry Pink Peppercorn
Honey Yogurt Walnut Jam
Cookies n’ Cream
Juniper Lime
Orange Anise
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut
New Orleans Coffee
Fresh Mint Chip
Whiskey Custard
Blood Orange
Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple
Pomegranate Lime Sorbet
Bitter Caramel

 Penny Ice Creamery Flavors

Penny’s is the only ice cream shop in Northern California that makes all of their ice cream completely from scratch. They have all of their own equipment, so they don’t need to use pre-made ice cream bases.

The owners are also committed to supporting the local economy, purchasing all of their ingredients in Northern California and many from Santa Cruz specifically. In addition, they use 100% organic dairy products and organic local produce. Since they don’t have to use pre-made bases, they are able to select each ingredient individually to ensure a unique and gourmet flavor. For some flavors, they even go so far as to handpick wild plants and herbs from the Santa Cruz mountains.

Visit to the White House

In November 2010, the owners of the Penny Ice Creamery got a call from Vice President Joe Biden. Just a few weeks before, they had posted a video on youtube, thanking the president and several other representatives for implementing the American Recovery Act. Baker and Davis say that there their dream may not have been possible, if not for the ARA’s ninety percent loan guarantee. They chose to express their appreciation through video, with no idea that their message would really reach the White House.

They not only got a personal call from Joe Biden, who promised to stop by for some ice cream, but they also got an invitation to sit with Michelle Obama during the State of the Union Address.

However, Baker and Davis don’t let all the press go to their heads. They are just happy to be living their dream of making the best handcrafted ice cream in Northern California.

The Vibe

Penny’s combines the cool, hipster feel of Verve with the warmth and friendliness of a small town ice cream shop. The smell of fresh baked waffle cones greets you at first glimpse of their blue neon sign. As you walk in, you can feel the excitement of the place. They might be serving ice cream, but they are delivering an experience.

Penny Ice Creamery Story

Each time I visit, I want to award the staff with some kind of gold medal for patience. Not only do they brave long lines with humor and efficiency, but they also wait calmly for each customer to try “just one more” flavor at least three times. I recommend taking advantage of their hospitality and sampling as many flavors as you like. You never know, cayenne apricot could become your new favorite.

Penny’s has also been known to celebrate its own birthday on August 24th by serving free single scoops of ice cream all day.

So whether you come for the organic ingredients or the exotic flavors, the generous staff and playful energy of the shop will have you coming back for more.

The Penny Ice Creamery Hours & Locations

Penny Ice CreameryDowntown
913 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz
Daily 12pm – 11pm

Penny Ice Creamery 41st Ave., Capitola

Downtown Kiosk
1520 K2 Pacific Avenue
Daily 12am – 9pm

Pleasure Point
820 41st Avenue, Santa Cruz
Daily 11am – 10pm

About Lindsay Shaffer

Lindsay Shaffer is a writer, teacher, and peak performance coach. She is also a former technology-phobe turned blogger. When she is not blogging or doing research, she still happily avoids all use of technology and heads for the outdoors.

  • What a lovely article! Thanks for reminding us about the New Orleans Coffee, so good, gotta bring that one back soon! -The Penny Ice Creamery

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