Sweet success for local organic ice cream business


What started out as a small business is now a booming success. And after you read (and watch) this story, you may never look at our local cows quite the same way again.

Petaluma has an awful lot of cows, and it turns out their milk is part of something "udderly" unusual.

Neal Gottlieb left a job in corporate America six years ago to start an ice cream shop.

"I wanted to do something to combine the inner do-gooder in me along with the dirty capitalist, and I felt like organic ice cream was a good compromise," Gottlieb said.

But he had no idea just how good it would be.

Inside the factory, tanks that hold about 200 gallons are filled entirely with milk and cream from local dairies. Gottlieb showed us the lake of sugary goodness -- that's the raw material for Three Twins Ice Cream.

Add a little flavor to the mix of milk, cream, sugar and eggs, then spin it around and around in the freezer until a giant machine spits out a perfectly twirled pint every two seconds.

You see, Gottlieb's ice cream became so popular that two years ago he opened the nation's only fully organic ice cream factory, right in Petaluma.

"This freezer is actually bigger than our first store," Gottlieb said.

Employees wrapped in Eskimo coats stack up 12,000 pints a day. Soon, they'll be sold at Whole Foods stores in all 50 states.

But the secret to his success? A simple recipe and a fair price.

"It's still high in fat and high in sugar, but that's what makes it delicious," he said.

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