On Tuesday, October 20th, Everyman Theatre opened their production of Fences, and debuted a new August Wilson inspired ice cream.
Of all the creative artists who contribute to the vision of a play – Everyman Theatre has unveiled a new category: ice cream interpretation. The Baltimore-based company Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, has interpreted Wilson’s play Fences into a 3 layer ice cream dream and is now busy introducing this latest in their line of small batch gourmet ice creams: ‘Swinging for the Fences: A Stick Stayed Stuck in the Craw, A Hope Seed Harvest Once Hoped for & Sonshining the Color of Blues.’ We talked with Darius Wilmore, the company’s creative director, to learn more.
To develop the taste, they went to Pittsburgh, walked the streets in Wilson’s neighborhood and talked with his neighbors, Wilmore told us. “Believe it or not, that was a big help.”
They then read the play and honed in on Troy, his failed dream as a baseball player, and, of course, the importance of the fence he was building. “Fences really keep things in and keep things out,” Wilmore said before explaining the process for developing the inspirations for the flavors for their newest brand.
“The top layer is sour cream ice cream base with gin blueberry swirl soaked with juniper berries (blueberries representing the blues which runs through August Wilson’s plays; gin is Troy’s drink in the play). And gin is made from juniper trees which grow in Pittsburgh.”
Representing the fence, “the ice cream container is divided in half by a waffle cone wafer which has been dipped in bitter chocolate (everyone is bitter by dreams deferred) and soaked in imitation vanilla (made from the extract of tree bark) to represent the baseball bat. The bottom layer is sweet cream ice cream “because when you break through the bitterness and shatter the fence, you get to the sweetness of a new beginning.”
It took about 2 weeks, working with a group of 18 to 25 year old colleagues in the factory, to work out the final flavor combination. “It all came together Sunday night and we delivered it to Everyman on Tuesday night.” And the reviews? “People loved it!”
You won’t find ‘Swinging for the Fences’ at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Taharka, a small premium ice cream company, is keeping distribution of all their ice cream brands tight for now. But you can find take home sizes of pints and half pints at Everyman Theatre starting Friday, at Forno’s Restaurant next door to Everyman and Milk and Honey Market on Cathedral Streets.
Other locations carry Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, and could be encouraged to add ‘Swinging for the Fences.’ “Power concedes nothing without a demand” Wilmore said, quoting Frederick Douglass. “So be like Frederick Douglass and demand it.” he added with a small laugh. Outlets carrying their ice cream here in the D.C. area include the restaurants at Busboys and Poets. The full list is here. Customers can call and ask them to add the new brand.
Or maybe you have an event coming up and want to serve ‘Swinging for the Fences.’ You can order a “sleeve” of 8 pints delivered to your door for approximately $48 plus shipping. Here’s the company’s contact form.
Taharka Brothers appears to be a company of groundchanging ideas as well as premium ice cream. Their slogan is “Food for Thought” and they are in the process of transitioning into a worker-owner cooperative business structure.