Everyone has a story. Jared Plummer
’s story starts with ice cream.
As a young boy in Stokesdale, North Carolina, family gatherings in the summer always held one thing: hand-cranked ice cream. Plummer spent many days on his granny’s front porch churning out the frozen treat.
“Nothing beats peach ice cream in the summer,” Plummer smiles as he thinks back to the early days laboring over a classic rock salt ice cream machine under the watch of the two black rooster cut outs that framed his grandma’s front door. These roosters eventually became the face of his Raleigh-based ice cream brand, Two Roosters
Despite attending NC State University for engineering and then switching his major to accounting, ice cream stayed with Plummer, and his mind never stopped dreaming up new flavors and playful concoctions.
“I had no culinary background beyond helping my grandma in the kitchen,” he says. Plummer also had no entrepreneurs in his large family. But he always dreamed he’d start an ice cream business, as farfetched as it seemed.
The dream became real in 2011 with the help of his wife Kelsey
, a financial planner, along with their deep faith and the Triangle community, a story they shared at the July edition of Creative Mornings
in downtown Raleigh.
The couple recalled the fateful night a year into their marriage when they were eating at Poppyseed Market in Raleigh and Kelsey pushed her husband to put his career as a CPA on hold and chase his dreams.
“It was a little more than I bargained for,” laughs Kelsey. “But when you love someone, you are willing to do the most dangerous thing in life, which is take a risk.”
The leap of faith Kelsey encouraged him to take led Plummer to New York City to attend the famous Ice Cream University. After studying under industry legend Malcolm Stogo, Plummer continued refining his craft on an ice cream road trip around the United States.
“I knew that I needed some ‘in the dirt’ experience to really gain knowledge of not only how to do production runs, but also to glean any advice from the other operators that I could,” he says.
Stopping in Philadelphia, Utah and Florida to study under and work with fellow artisan ice cream makers, one scoop shop is stuck in Plummer’s mind.
“I have the deepest respect for Little Baby’s Ice Cream in Philadelphia,” he says. “They have been so helpful and supportive through the process and they come to ice cream with a similar perspective to my own: How can we push the boundaries of ice cream flavors?”
The ice cream market has been flat for several years, but super-premium brands, innovative flavors and locally sourced ingredients are popular with consumers. Health food trends and the push for better-for-you ingredients don’t seem to have a large effect on ice cream makers since consumers expect an indulgence when they purchase a frozen treat.
With their turquoise and white vintage 1965 Ford F-100 and matching camper in tow, the Plummers now travel throughout the Triangle area serving flavors that are inspired by Plummer’s favorite foods and local businesses.
Community is important to the Plummers and they enjoy partnering with companies to create fun flavors that transcend the classic ideas of what ice cream should be.
“We are fans of local companies and love folding their brand into our product,” Plummer says.
Two Roosters sources milk and cream from Homeland Creamery
in Julian, NC, adding honey varieties from Vintage Bee Honey
, coffee from Slingshot
, fresh strawberries from Lyon Farms
and other novelty food items from local artisans to create fun frozen combinations. They’ve even created beer and pizza-flavored treats.
And Plummer isn’t finished thinking up flavors. He is experimenting with cantaloupe cream pie ice cream right now.
“I see something interesting and think, ‘I want to put that in ice cream,’ and most of the time it works,” he jokes.
At home, Plummer’s flavor of choice is Two Roosters Cookie and Cream. Kelsey’s current favorite is the seasonal Blackberry Royale, which is infused with hibiscus leaves provided by Tin Roof Teas.
The business operates out of Durham’s The Cookery
, a shared culinary innovation kitchen for startup brands like Two Roosters, but Plummer is looking for a more permanent storefront that would provide him with more space and freedom to experiment and work on expanding the line.
The Two Roosters story is just beginning. Once he is able to move beyond the mobile application of his product, Plummer has multiple ideas on how to get his ice cream into the hands of more customers in the Triangle and surrounding regions.
“The grand idea is really open ended,” he says. “It is funny how a dream evolves, and right now, I don’t know how big it will become.”
Local businesses have reached out to Plummer, offering to carry his ice cream if he ever developed a packaged product. As for expanded retail opportunities, he doesn’t know if Two Roosters will ever become a recognized brand in the freezer aisle.
The key for Plummer now is to create a hospitable environment for his customers, where they can experience the Two Roosters journey.
The ice cream he creates is a gift he wants to give to the Triangle. He wants his creations to add unique flavor to the local culinary scene that natives and visitors can come and enjoy.
Plummer’s excitement for the future appears to be shared by the Two Roosters growing fan base, but he does not neglect to give credit where he feels it is due. To the crowd at Creative Mornings, he shared that he's has been humbled by the grace of God and driving him is a belief that it is important to serve others in order to get where you want in life.