The most pleasing flavor profiles balance both sweet and savory, and the mother-daughter duo who own and operate the Vanilla Bean Creamery make up the right combination for a flavorful adventure.
Clara Miller is a self-professed optimist while her daughter Krista Berkey is a realist. Together they have dreamed up one successful venture on the corner of Main and Division Streets in Elkhart.
Before 2018, neither Miller nor Berkey knew how to make ice cream. In the spring of 2018, they traveled to Florida to attend an ice-cream boot camp. A little more than a year later, they opened the Vanilla Bean Creamery and would end up producing more than 400 gallons of ice cream a week.
Customers can usually find about 30 flavors, with new ones being tested monthly. Some flavors aren’t as popular as expected — cinnamon being one that fell short — and other times a winner rises to the top and ends up on the permanent menu. The Amish Peanut Butter offering became an overnight sensation.
Each batch of Amish Peanut Butter ice cream includes five pounds of creamy peanut butter. Miller says peanut butter ice creams are some of the messiest to make. When they add a considerable helping of marshmallow cream and vanilla extract, magic is created.
“People love it. It’s kinda an Elkhart County thing,” Miller said. “It didn’t take very long to become a favorite. If they love eating Amish peanut butter, they love the ice cream.”
When you ask Miller and Berkey what’s next, you’ll hear a bigger ice cream maker, more staff and thoughts around additional locations. Miller’s timeline tends to be shorter than Berkey’s regarding their next moves. However, Miller probably won’t be spending 90 hours a week making ice cream like she did their first season as both a bigger machine and more staff are at the top of their lists for improvements.
They attribute their success to the kindness of the Elkhart community.
“People just started sharing about our business, it wasn’t expected,” Berkey said.
Both women continue to be dedicated to producing a great product with flavors their customers enjoy.
“I use simple combinations, simple common homemade flavors is what I understand,” Miller explains.
While their Amish Peanut Butter ice cream is made from three ingredients, the flavor is the perfect balance of sweet marshmallow cream and the salty richness of peanut butter.
A business that was started because learning how to make ice cream “sounded like fun” is bound to be an Elkhart hot spot again this summer.
Vanilla Bean Creamery
The Vanilla Bean Creamery was started in 2019 as a local ice cream shop with 100% homemade products. Vanilla Bean Creamery, located in downtown Elkhart, uses real ingredients to flavor our treats so that you get the best wholesome dessert.
528 S. Main St.,
Elkhart, IN 46516
“People love [the Amish Peanut Butter ice cream]. It’s kinda an Elkhart County thing. It didn’t take very long to become a favorite. If they love eating Amish peanut butter, they love the ice cream.”