They’re not your typical flat, dry, chocolate cookies with a slab-of-vanilla ice cream sandwiches. Made from farm fresh and creatively combined ingredients, Ruby Jewel Treats are an ice cream lover’s dream. And their creator, Lisa Herlinger ’01, makes them in the “greenest” way possible. Herlinger started her unique business in 2004 after deciding she wanted to be on the selling side of the farmer’s market she was involved with in Portland, Oregon.
She stayed after hours at the restaurant where she worked, experimenting with distinctive flavors for the ice cream and cookies she made from scratch. They were a hit at the farmer’s market. “I kept selling out and people would ask me ‘Where else can I buy these?’” says Herlinger. Ruby Jewel has since been featured in InStyle, The Washington Post and on TV's Recipe for Success. With five fabulous flavors including Cinnamon Chocolate Cookie with Espresso, “We do enough [sales] so we’re growing and the numbers keep getting bigger,” Herlinger says.
Although the treats are fabulously fun and delicious, Herlinger is very serious about her business practices. She buys wind power and carbon offsets to make up for the energy used to make the sandwiches, and she recycles anything she can, including donating broken cookies to a food bank. While producing thousands of sandwiches, she typically only has one bag of trash at the end of each day.
“A big part of sustainability for me is sourcing locally,” says Herlinger, who uses dairy products, mint, honey and other ingredients from nearby farms, and buys supplies like bags and labels from local manufacturers. She knows she could get them for less elsewhere, but that would mean more fuel consumption for shipping. Herlinger prides herself on knowing that buying locally gives her better quality control.