Lisa Herlinger is proud that her Ruby Jewel Treats are not your typical bland ice cream sandwiches. Made from farm fresh and creatively combined ingredients, these treats are an ice cream lover’s dream. And Herlinger makes them in a way that is friendly to both taste buds and the environment.
Herlinger started the 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.
Currently featuring five unique flavors such as the popular Cinnamon Chocolate Cookie with Espresso, Ruby Jewel Treats has captured a good share of market attention, and has since been featured in The Washington Post, InStyle, and on TV's Recipe for Success.
“We do enough [sales] so we’re growing and the numbers keep getting bigger,” Herlinger says.
Although the treats are 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 treats, and she recycles anything she can, including donating broken cookies to a food bank. While producing thousands of sandwiches, she typically has only 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. More importantly, Herlinger claims that buying locally gives her better quality control.