by Phil Vogelzang
David and Julie McCulloch of Elevated Ice Cream company first moved to Jefferson County in 1976. They chose Pt. Townsend because of David’s passion for wooden boat building and Julie’s love of the open rural nature of the area. Looking for ways to make a living, they decided to try selling ice cream out of an old elevator cage that was on a downtown courtyard. A very tight squeeze for their early business, the antique Otis elevator had been salvaged from the original St. John’s hospital. Selling ice cream out of an old elevator cage is not exactly a long term business strategy so in 1977 they moved indoors to a building on Franklin Court and began selling ice cream year round. Business was good which prompted another move in 1981 to a nearby waterfront building on Water Street where Elevated Ice Cream continues to this day. In 1997 they added a candy shop to help balance sales during the cold (i.e. chocolate craving) season.
How did they learn to make ice cream? Julie’s grandparents were good friends with Norm Glover, who had recently retired from running one of Seattle’s oldest and most well know soda fountain and ice cream shops called Glover’s Ice Cream on the corner of Lake City Way and 15th NE. One reason for Norm’s success his own unique ice cream recipe. Julie’s grandmother suggested they ask Norm to share his recipe and advise them on starting the business. He was only too happy to help out.
Making ice cream from scratch is not easy. Milk is a highly complex substance that has lots of seasonal variability and making a uniform product can be challenging. The so called base recipe has to be made by a licensed dairy, as it requires it’s own pasteurization process. Once the base mix is made, various flavorings are added. Julie and David rapidly mastered these techniques and began making their own brand, calling it “Elevated” after the antique Victorian elevator cage they sold out of. With Norm’s help they were able to produce a base mix that reflected Norm’s exacting old fashioned standards. After working with Dairygold for many years, they teamed up with the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream company and Barry Bettinger who was producing his own ice cream base mix from local dairy operations in Maltby, WA. Barry had also learned the art and science of ice cream making from Norm Glover and was eager to produce a unique and high end product for Julie and David. Barry gets his milk from Edalene Farm – a dairy in Lynden WA. They process their raw milk the old fashioned way called slow batch pasteurization in which lower temperatures are used, unlike the more commonly used high temperature approach which Julie feels cooks out the natural milk flavors. Julie points to their “sweet cream” flavor, which, containing no added flavors, really showcases the pure taste of the milk. Once the base mix is obtained, Elevated works their magic with flavorings in the small but efficient kitchen located in the back of the ice cream store.
Over the next 34 years, many things competed for Julie’s attention. She became active in local politics and served 2 terms on the City Council, followed by 1 term as the Mayor. As if that wasn’t enough, she also found time to found the Jefferson Land Trust, along with Virginia McIntyre in 1987. Julie’s passion for open space and farmland, especially dairy continues to this day with their involvement in the Brown Dairy revitalization project in Chimacum, spearheaded by Jefferson Landworks Collaborative. We applaud her efforts, but are grateful that she’s never turned her back on Elevated.
Chimacum is a better place now that one can buy quarts of Elevated Ice Cream at the Corner whenever the craving strikes. With any luck, beginning next spring, we will also be scooping their ice cream into cones. Please do tell us if we’ve overlooked your favorite flavor!