SOUTH OGDEN — If you’re going to get into small-batch ice cream making, there’s at least one thing you should know — you’ll have to put in plenty of time.
“It’s labor intensive. We’re always making ice cream,” said Catherine Diamond, who runs Bow Tie Creamery in South Ogden with her husband, C.F. Diamond.
But the shift into the ice cream business is paying off.
Things have gone well, the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding, and the Diamonds are thinking of opening a second Bow Tie Creamery location in Salt Lake City. More significantly, perhaps, running the small business at 1479 E. 5600 South in the middle of a burgeoning commercial area of South Ogden off Harrison Boulevard has given the Diamonds a new outlet for their energy and passion. They come up with the wide-ranging, ever-changing ice cream flavors — Oh My Mango, Speculoos S’mores, Lemon Blueberry and much, much more — and they’ve gotten a crash course in social media marketing, aided by son-in-law Matt Healey.
“It has been fun for me. I’ve always been kind of a foodie,” said C.F. Diamond. He still has his day job, as he calls it, running Excel Countertops, a Salt Lake City-based company that makes and installs countertops and cabinets. But he spends many if not most evenings at Bow Tie.
Catherine Diamond, a retired recreational therapist with the Intermountain Healthcare system, typically runs the operation during the day. “This is a big change for me,” she said.
But while it’s plenty of work — she’s always attentive to the beep of the ice cream maker, which means a new batch is ready — there are the benefits, like meeting all the people who come in for a scoop or a pint or a quart. “That’s one of the big perks,” she said.
The Diamonds have been running Bow Tie for about 2 1/2 years, since October 2018. They took a leap of faith after falling in love with a similar operation called Ampersand Ice Cream in Fresno, California, where a son lives and where they’d frequently visit. The California creamery had flavors “like we’ve never tried before, fun flavors — strawberry balsamic,” Catherine Diamond said.
Catherine Diamond had experience making ice cream, whipping up a batch each year of a flavor passed down in the family, Raspberry Sour Cream (now the top seller at Bow Tie). But running an ice cream shop is something altogether different and C.F. Diamond started studying up, plotting the shift into a completely new endeavor. He bought a $10,000 ice cream machine, looked for information on making ice cream wherever he could and started experimenting with flavors. “He started learning the science of ice cream,” said his wife.
It took around three years of on-and-off experimenting before launching in the fall of 2018. C.F. Diamond learned the ins and outs of texture and flavor, proper churning and more. Catherine Diamond had her doubts. “My first thought was, we can’t compete with Farr’s Ice Cream,” she said, alluding to the famed Ogden ice cream outlet.
C.F. Diamond was undaunted, though, and Bow Tie — named for the sort of garb he and Healey wear when getting dressy — has developed a niche. The Diamonds make ice cream in small batches, three quarts at a time, which means more work and a slightly higher price than what might be possible with a mass-produced product. It aids in quality control, though, and as Catherine Diamond sees it, has helped Bow Tie create a space for itself.
“That’s what makes us unique,” she said. “The flavors are our own. The small batch (technique) creates what we feel is a higher-quality product.”
When the pandemic was at its worst and people were staying in as much as they could, they’d still get business, people typically buying a pint or quart container to go, people wanting them to survive. “The community came out in droves to support us. They didn’t want us to go away,” Catherine Diamond said.
As such, the Diamonds are still at it, working on different flavors and keeping the ice cream coming, three quarts at a time. C.F. Diamond says he’s hoping to expand to Salt Lake City as soon as he finds a suitable location.