The crowd at Lyndonville’s annual Stars & Stripes Festival was treated to something extra cool this year: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, courtesy of The Foundry, a community workshop coming to the area soon. Batches of Vanilla, Chocolate, Blueberry, Blackberry, and Maple ice cream were made instantly, right in front of visitors, using Liquid Nitrogen to flash cool the cream.
The group came to the festival to announce their existence and gain local support and members. The Foundry is a community workshop or MakerSpace, preparing to open soon in the St Johnsbury/Lyndonville area. The membership-based space will give the public access to a wide range of tools and equipment, in fields like electronics, metalworking, woodworking, rapid prototyping, and even jewelry making. “The NorthEast Kingdom is full of skilled engineers, hobbyists, and artists,” says treasurer Greg Schoppe (St Johnsbury), “We intend to give them a place to work, collaborate, and unwind, with other skilled people.” Secretary Mack Varnum adds, “We’d like to tie together all the various aspects of design, from the practical to the whimsical”. “The ultimate goal is to have a full featured idea factory and development space with nearly unlimited opportunities for partnerships and business creation.”, says president James Schenck (Passumpsic, VT). “We don’t want to create one local business,” adds vice-president Tom Bishop (Waterford, VT), “We want to help create hundreds.”
To bring this message to the masses, a core group of 10 members worked tirelessly for weeks, creating a large rocket float with the theme “Shoot for the Stars” and carefully preparing the coldest science they’d ever worked on. “Liquid Nitrogen isn’t for the faint of heart,” says Greg. ”At -340°F, the liquid can easily cause serious frostbite and cryogenic burns, if mishandled. We had to take significant precautions to bring this treat out of the lab and in front of the general public, but the results were fantastic!” At those low temperatures, large ice crystals don’t have time to form, leaving the ice cream the smoothest, fluffiest scoop possible. Plus, with the time from mix to cone a mere 90 seconds, they were able to use 100% fresh, all-natural ingredients.
When the day was over, The Foundry had served over 250 happy customers, leaving many more with the obvious question: “Will you be back next year?” Their answer all depends on the public’s support.