Duck Island, the ice cream that originated as an item on the dessert menu at an award-winning Hamilton restaurant, has made a name for itself on the national food stage. Known for its unconventional flavours such as lollycake and fairy bread, Duck Island has been a popular dessert choice since its beginnings in 2015.
The company was founded by Cameron Farmilo, Morgan Glass and Kim Higginson after the trio discovered the joy of ice cream, its versatility and what you can do with it. Within a year of its launch, Duck Island’s roasted white chocolate and miso flavour earned a Cuisine Good Food Award, putting the company on the map. Since then, the ice cream has been in hot demand, and Duck Island has expanded to run five scoop stores in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, employing approximately 145 people to handcraft and serve small batches of ice cream.
The company is headquartered in Hamilton, where it all began. The founders, as well as the factory and offices, are based there, and Hamiltonians take pride in the company’s roots.
When asked about the benefits of being based in Hamilton, co-founder Kim says the city presents a lot of opportunities for start-ups. “There is a considerable network of people who like to get behind and support small businesses,” she says. “The city is small enough that you can feel the essence of community and can provide an excellent work-life balance.” The city’s size has also enabled them to build strong relationships with their growers and suppliers.
Duck Island also values the accessibility of great high-quality local ingredients to create their innovative flavour combinations. The Waikato is known for dairy production, and there are also a lot of berry farms in the region – Duck Island freezes locally grown berries for a year-round supply to go into flavours such as boysenberry cheesecake or blueberry buttermilk gooey butter cake.