49 Voices: Elissa Brown of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Elissa Brown in Anchorage. She moved to Alaska two years ago, and currently runs Wild Scoops, a handmade ice cream business that specializes in local ingredients.

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Elissa Brown of Anchorage (Photo by Ammon Swenson, alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
Elissa Brown of Anchorage (Photo by Ammon Swenson, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

BROWN: I’ve always loved tinkering around in the kitchen. But I feel like it’s only as I grew older that I really grew to see that food could be such a source of community. And I feel like ice cream in particular is such a neat food. That it’s nostalgic and also cutting edge if you do it right. And it just makes people happy.

I had started playing around with ice cream recipes. Sharing them with people and just seeing how everyone would rally around these weird flavors that were like seasonal, really rooted in this sense of place. And Alaskans love local products. And they love things that are made locally, grown locally, harvested locally and I realized that ice cream could be a way to really showcase all of these local products and evoke this sense of Alaskan pride.

I do consider myself an Alaskan. With the knowledge that I haven’t lived here for my whole life and I haven’t had generations before me but I feel like I embrace that Alaskan spirit of being so in love with our natural setting. And maybe through the ice cream searching, it’s brought it up more. Just having to be really aware of what the local plants are that are in season and that are edible. And having to learn a lot about that from people who have lived here longer and do have more experience.

I think in Anchorage there’s a really strong growing local food movement. There’s a lot of interest, a lot of excitement. A lot of desire for more of a hub to connect people. And that’s the thing that we talk about with other local farmers, other local small food businesses. And I think as a city we’re moving in the right direction.