As the weather gets hotter in the Mile Square City, many people will be reaching out for a cold scoop of ice cream this summer.
But at the Main Street Pops Artisan Market, a local ice cream business will be testing who can eat their ice cream the fastest – brain freeze and all.
“I feel weird even saying it, but it’s just like something I always wanted to do,” said Jeff Richman, the co-founder of Moo Jersey, a local ice cream business that he runs with his wife, Mila.
Jeff said that he wanted to do a contest while living back in the East Village of Manhattan, but felt that it wasn’t approachable. But after Main Street Pops said yes, the momentum had carried, and they now have 115 tickets sold as of today for their inaugural event – the Mile Square Meltdown 2022.
“I was skeptical,” said Mila. “I was definitely one of the people that was telling Jeff, ‘Nobody’s going to pay for an ice cream eating contest’.” But after filming a promo video for the contest, she said that she realized, “This is gonna be a lot of fun.”
The Richman’s are newer residents of Hoboken, having lived in the city for two-and-a-half years. Jeff, who works with a number of advertising tech start-ups, does most of the cooking for Moo Jersey, while Mila, who does strategy and operations for a tech company, focuses on operations.
Jeff got into ice cream after having lived near Crescent Ridge Dairy outside of Boston. He even went to take an ice cream course at Penn State University, learning the food science about the dessert.
“It’s very, very heavy on the academic side, and you actually come out of it with a really strong structure of all the math behind ice cream,” he said. “It almost makes you worse at first, because it makes you question everything you’re doing.”
While he was living in New York City, one of things he noticed with the parlors in the city was the focus on different varieties of flavors, and for him, he wanted to go back to basics such as vanilla or cookies and cream.
“I started making some for friends,” continued Jeff. “I just love the experience of giving people ice cream. It really brings me joy to do that and see them smile and talk and learn more about what ice cream is and isn’t.”
When it came to commercially selling their product, the two started out at the Main Street Pops market last September. Right now, they currently focus on doing local delivery, and also have it available at Prime & Bloom Grocery on 10th and Bloomfield. They also bought a cart to bring along the Hudson River Walkway.
Their ice cream is made from scratch at Bellamy Kitchen, a rental kitchen facility in Union City. Jeff said that he prioritizes sourcing his ingredients, and having an ethical and transparent supply chain process.
The Mile Square Meltdown will take place on June 12 and have multiple contests for a scoop, half-pint or a full pint, and a also have contests for kids or family members that are looking to compete together. They also have a gold trophy that will be awarded to the winner with the fastest pint time.
The proceeds from the tickets will also be donated to the Hoboken Family Alliance to support the annual summer food drive, which was an idea brought up by Main Street Pops. “We thought that would just be another great cause to collaborate on,” said Mila.
With Jeff having spent a lot of time in the kitchen over the past week and 50 more pints to pack, the Richman’s said they’re ready for next week. “It’s like my Super Bowl,” said Jeff.
To purchase tickets for the event, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/hoboken-ice-cream-contest-festival-tickets-310467726327.