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Scooping Duck Island goodness

Missing Duck Island ice cream?

The popular Hamilton Artisan ice cream maker is launching its ‘click and collect’ and delivery service as the country moves into the Level 3 stage of the national lockdown.

Customers can purchase pint-sized tubs, as well as ice cream cakes, on Duck Island’s online store.

“My partner has pretty much spent the whole day plotting a map of the whole of Hamilton because the support and the influx of orders has just been incredible,” says co-owner Kim Higgison as they prepared for the first delivery run in the city. “It is really heartening to see.”

Deliveries are also available on certain days in Auckland and Cambridge.

Duck Island was established in Hamilton East in 2015 by three co-owners Morgan Glass, Kim Higgison and Cameron Farmilo.   The trio are well known in the Waikato food scene, as former owners of restaurant Chim Choo Ree.

It has been a period of sharp growth for Duck Island with customers quickly growing to love the ice cream, travelling from near and far – and often queuing out the door to get their hands on it.

Duck Island’s four retail stores – Hamilton East and Riverbank Mall, Ponsonby and Newmarket have been closed for the last month, due to the Level 4 lockdown.

Production for nationwide supermarket supply has continued at their Cambridge factory. But scooped ice cream makes up ninety percent of their sales, so the temporary store closures have been a blow.

All three, who live in Hayes Paddock, have been working during the lockdown as well as caring for young children.  The whole experience has been a ‘huge learning curve,” says Kim.

“I guess we are doing OK. We are doing the best we can. There has been a lot of support both within the business and from customers, a lot of people reaching out so that really helps.”

Hamilton East, their flagship store, and the two Auckland stores, will open for click and collect, contactless collection.

Duck Island make small batches from a simple blend of organic milk, cream and sugar.  “Ingredients are sourced locally, where possible, with interesting flavour combinations.”

Their top seller, by far, is salted caramel and cacao crumb. Fairy bread is a hit with the kids and they still make roasted white chocolate and miso, a popular feature on early Chim Choo Ree menus.

Fruity flavours, like strawberry, coconut and lime leaf; and blackberry, sage and honey, have stood the test of time in their rotation of 50 flavours.

“A large part of our range is vegan, coconut based, and that is a big part of our business so we are really happy to have that offering and interesting flavours for that sector.”

In recent times they have introduced a refurbished Duck Island ice cream truck and caravan to attend private functions, events and weddings.   “These are the other parts of the business we can’t wait to get back on the road.”

Kim explains how Duck Island got its name: “We all live in Hayes Paddock and along from Wellington St Beach there is a little swimming hole and it has an island which is called Duck Island off the bank of the river.” 

“So when coming up with the name, it is local, and I guess the goal was to create a local community space, somewhere to hang out, which is what Duck Island was for generations of people who have lived in Hamilton East.”

That is how is all started. “The support has been incredible and hopefully will continue to be.”

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