Big Little Biz is a monthly featured column. To be featured, you must be a HeyFave member. Contact [email protected] to discuss pricing and scheduling.
Our featured “Big Little Biz” business owner is Greg Raynes of Oak Barrel Ice & Creamery. We regularly feature our HeyFaves to get some behind the scenes “scoop” (LOL). Enjoy!
Greg, you opened Oak Barrel Ice & Creamery in 2015. What were you doing before then?
The previous 8 years I was teaching junior high- algebra, geometry. I taught a total of 18 years but I started in Salinas, for about 10 years, then I took a little break, did a couple other jobs. When I moved to Modesto, I worked for Pacific Southwest Container as a Purchasing Agent and then worked as the Business Manager of the Salvation Army and then settled back into teaching at the Junior High level. So, I’ve been in and out of teaching twice now. I think I’m done haha.
You’re done teaching?
I did a Career Day thing today and spoke, and it was junior high again so I was back in it. But not for long, I’m back in the ice cream shop!
So after being a teacher for over a decade, what made you decide to open up an ice cream parlor?
My ice cream parlor was always Plan B. I grew up making ice cream as a child. When I got married, one of my wedding presents was a hand churn ice cream maker and I was always the guy who made ice cream for family events.
So, it was just always in the back of my mind. People would say, oh you know you can’t get this ice cream anywhere else, you should sell it and I thought, well if I ever get tired of teaching that’s probably what I’ll do.
What does an oak barrel have to do with ice cream?
Ahhh, the oak barrel is what I got to remind myself of the old-fashioned ice cream maker- the outside is a wooden barrel. For many, many years I used the hand crank. I have an oak barrel hand crank on the counter- a very small one but I have 4 others at home I’ve had throughout the years. It’s just the idea of something being hand-cranked, homemade.
How many batches do you make?
Well per day, we’re producing about somewhere between 8 and 20 gallons a day of ice cream. On a slow day, it’ll be 8 and when I’m trying to catch up it’ll be 20. Each batch of ice cream takes about 30 minutes to make. With your set-up and your tear-down, you’re looking at a minimum of 4 hours of ice cream making to a maximum of 10 probably.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
My favorite is the Root Beer ice cream because that’s the true family recipe.
The one I make the most in the shop is the Caramel Crunch- dulce de leche base with toffee and chocolate ground into it.
Do you think your background helped you figure out the science of ice cream?
Actually, my wife is a science teacher. I graduated with a degree in Business Management and got an MBA. The Bachelor’s was from Cal State Long Beach and the Master’s was from San Jose State. I had all that while I was teaching math…but there is a science to making the ice cream…because it really is a balance of butter, fat, and sugar. People are always like, “Can I get a less fat ice cream?” Yeah, you put less fat you have more sugar…”Can I get a less sugar ice cream?” Yeah, that’s the vanilla, which is the most fat. There’s a lot to it, sometimes you can’t explain everything. It’s a dessert.
Why do you love HeyTurlock so much?
I love Hey Turlock because it offers targeted local advertising and the employees are terrific to work with.
Oak Barrel Ice & Creamery is located at 197 S. Golden State Blvd. in Turlock, CA. Their hours are Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-9pm, Sunday 4pm-9pm, and they are closed on Mondays.
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