7/31/2013 2:00:00 PM Wiscasset Ice Cream Shop Offers Maine Flavor
On his day off from the Wiscasset Transfer Station, Ron Lear can be found serving ice cream at the family business in Wiscasset. (Kathy Onorato photo)
Lobster flavored ice cream is among the 40 flavors offered at Lear's Ice Cream in Wiscasset. (Kathy Onorato photo)
By Kathy Onorato
Most visitors to Maine are eager try lobster in some form. How about lobster ice cream? Lear's Ice Cream, tucked away between Red's Eats and Papa Geppetto's Toy Shop on Water Street in Wiscasset offers this unique experience.
It took the Lears two years of planning to come up with the flavor. "We didn't want it be just a novelty, we wanted it to taste good," said Pam Lear. With the fear that chunks of frozen lobster meat would crystallize, they came up with the idea to puree real lobster, allowing the flavor get all through the ice cream.
It's a good seller and most customers are very intrigued by it. The Lears offer a generous sample for 25 cents, giving the customer the chance to see if they like it. Pam says it's just fun to see customers walk in the shop and dare and bet one another to try it. The usual response is, "That isn't bad." Customers are glad they tried it.
According to the Lears, about 30 percent of those that sample it order a full size cone.
The Lears make all 40 flavors of their ice cream at their home in Wiscasset. They have an old Taylor ice cream maker that makes just two and half gallons at time. They make at least 32 tubs every week, however during this time of year production is up to 64 tubs.
"The more you sell the more you have to make," said Ron. Typically the last three weeks of July is the busiest for the family business.
"To make good ice cream you got to have good ingredients," said Pam. The Lears are constantly testing ingredients and flavors to ensure they have the best. Attending food shows allows them to try and compare ingredients. If they try one they like better they don't hesitate to change. They buy a lot of high quality ingredients from Bev-tech.
Now in their fifth year in business, the Lears' say their business is growing in volume. "We are unique, in that that person behind the counter can answer any questions about what's in the ice cream," said Ron.