Earlier this summer, a Port Byron farmer dropped off a truckload of sweet corn on the doorstep of Here’s The Scoop in the Village of East Davenport.
And by mid-September, probably, the shop’s crop of sweet corn ice cream will run out.
Yes, sweet corn ice cream, which tastes just like its source, has proved popular.
Here’s The Scoop owner and ice cream maker Chevelle Sampson has fielded plenty of curious questions about the flavor.
“People can’t believe it is what it is,” she said. “They say, ‘Is it really corn?’”
Sweet corn was on the menu when Sampson and her husband of 12 years, Rich, opened Here’s The Scoop in April 2017.
“It’s Iowa,” she said. “You can’t find (the flavor) anywhere else.”
But it’s not the only unexpected offering at Here’s The Scoop, where 18 flavors of hard-packed ice cream are on tap at a time, including Dark Chocolate Praline, Watermelon Sorbet, Lavender to Key Lime Pie to Goat Cheese & Roasted Cherries.
Sampson gets ingredients from grocery stores, farmers, area vegetable and fruit stands and, in the case of the Coffee Toffee flavor, Davenport’s Redband Coffee Company,
“I try to buy fresh and local,” she said.
Sampson also makes her own versions of staples like Thin Mint and Cake Batter, but she prefers to mix it up, saying, “Why offer something you can find at the store?”
She finds inspiration from whatever’s in season, favorite foods and, in some cases, customer requests.
“I always say, if you can cook it, it can be turned into ice cream,” Sampson said. “If it’s food, we can make it ice cream.”
That goes for the PB&J flavor.
“It tastes like an Uncrustable,” Sampson said, referring to the crustless sandwich made by Smucker’s.
Some tastes, Sampson said, work out better than others in ice cream form.
Papaya was a fail. A honeydew-inspired flavor, though, will be unveiled soon.
Another one that hasn’t worked, yet, is a flavor using Gardetto's, the snack mix consisting of pretzels, crunchy breadsticks and rye chips.
“I can always say, ‘Well, I tried,’” she said. “It’s always worth trying and seeing what people think.”
This week, Sampson plans to use raspberry wine from Wide River Winery, which has a tasting room just up Mound Street, to make a White Chocolate Raspberry Wine ice cream. It will be served on Saturday, during the East Village of Davenport Wine Walk, benefiting Gilda’s Club of the Quad-Cities.
Prior to owning Here’s The Scoop, Sampson had never made ice cream before. Looking back, she says, “I was a horrible baker.”
She spent most of her career in the classroom, teaching kindergarten and first grade in the North Scott Community School District for 18 years.
“It was just time to do something new,” she said. “I was ready to do something on my own.”
Rich Sampson, who runs the Bettendorf-based construction company, Sampsons Builders, previously co-owned Parkside Grill & Lounge in Moline.
The couple considered returning to the restaurant business. Instead, they settled on something simpler.
“With ice cream, it’s all smiles,” Rich Sampson said. “You get to make people happy.”
It’s a lot of work, too.
Along with making what she calls “handcrafted gourmet ice cream,” Chevelle Sampson bakes (sometimes oversized) chocolate chip or sugar cookies for ice cream sandwiches. She also makes her own marshmallows, sauces, hot fudge, graham crackers and waffle cones.
To keep up with steady summer business and to keep a case of to-go pints stocked, Sampson often stays in the Here’s The Scoop kitchen until the late hours of the night and into early morning.
“It’s really fun to experiment with different things,” she said. “It keeps me very busy.”
Things are even busier now that Here's The Scoop launched its food truck in June. The owners of the Village of East Davenport ice cream shop bought the truck from Smilee's Ice Cream in DeWitt, Iowa.
“It seemed like the next logical step,” Sampson said, adding that she typically posts where on-wheels ice cream shop will be on Facebook.
As fall approaches, options at Here's The Scoop will follow suit with the season. The ice cream case, Sampson hints, will feature flavors incorporating apple cider, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
Then, in December, the shop will close its doors until March, when Sampson says business picks up again.
Although, for some customers, it's never not ice cream season.
"If ice cream is your lunch of dinner, that's OK by us," Sampson said. “We don’t judge."