The historic Lewis Oliver Farm located on the North Shore of Long Island was once home to a popular dairy farm. The farm is estimated to date back to the 1890s and at its peak held 63 cows on the milking line. After a successful run, the owner decided to retire and sold the cows and the farm in 1953, when it was turned into a petting zoo. However, when he decided to sell the property about 10 years ago, local residents, led by Pamela Veitch, banded together to save the remaining animals. Together, the community created the non-profit, Friends of the Farm, a 501c-3 nonprofit organization made up entirely of volunteers.
Under the volunteer leadership, this former dairy has not only become a sanctuary but also serves to educate the public about the individual personalities and rich complexity of farm animals. Residents of the Lewis Oliver Farm include sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other rescued animals, who have been saved from the meat and dairy factories, or cases of abuse and neglect.
In keeping with their kinder outlook towards animals, instead of selling cow’s milk, it serves up vegan ice cream!
From Cow Milk to Coconut Milk
After giving up dairy, Friends of the Farm volunteer Lorene Eriksen, who oversees the sanctuary, started experimenting with making vegan ice cream cakes. Inspired by all that she had learned while working at Carvel many years earlier, she set out making her own delicious ice creams and cakes, complete with those magical chocolate crunchies. After perfecting her coconut milk ice cream cake recipe, she began selling them at the farm.
The name of the ice cream was even inspired by one of the farm’s very special residents, Annabelle, the cow. Annabelle is a sweet and gentle giant who enjoys back-rubs. It was because of her affectionate personality that Lorene named her creations, “Sweet Annabelle’s.
To be clear, it is not Annabelle’s milk, or any dairy milk, that is used in the cakes. Instead, this darling cow is featured on the products as a reminder of the beauty and individuality of each and every cow and used as a tongue-in-cheek nod to dairy-based ice creams.
“It is our wish that animals everywhere can live a life free from harm just as Annabelle and her friends do. And that as more and more cruelty-free alternatives become available, people will come to discover that compassion and the opportunity to enjoy delicious-tasting food need never be mutually exclusive,” Lorene writes on her website.
Sweet Annabelle’s boasts that its cakes are built on compassion and sweet deliciousness, that puts a gentle spin on an old tradition with vegan ice cream cakes, pints, and ice cream sandwiches, made entirely from scratch. Some of the top-selling flavors include smashed peanut butter cup, salted caramel pretzel crunch, salted caramel, chocolate, vanilla, coffee chip and chocolate peanut butter … Mmmmm.
Just look at these delicious desserts!
This is what dreams are made of.
Thin mint cookie ice cream? Yes, please.
Each order comes with a special note to teach visitors about the intelligence and sentience of farmed animals.
Lorene said that she takes immense satisfaction is seeing the reactions of people when they taste her ice cream. It also opens up the dialogue about the horrors of the dairy industry and the cruelty-free alternatives that are just as delicious, if not better.
Want to Help Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary?
Today the Lewis Oliver Farm relies entirely on the help of volunteers and the donations of the local community. Since it is near residential areas, neighbors often stop by to drop off leafy greens and vegetables for the animals and the team is always excited to help educate visitors about farm animals. To help Lewis Oliver Farm care for Annabelle and all its beautiful animals, visit their website and make a donation.
All image source: Sweetannabelles.com