Steve's Ice Cream, Davis Square

As summer approaches, my mind turns to beach trips and ice cream. Who am I kidding, I’m always thinking about ice cream. I got an especially strong hankering a while ago when I watched this news footage about ice cream legend Steve Herrell, from his first shop Steve’s Ice Cream in Davis Square.

[caption id="attachment2248" align="alignright" width="300"]Steve Herrell Steve Herrell being interviewed. Watch the <a href="">full story.[/caption]

Herrell opened Steve’s Ice Cream in 1973, with the purpose of selling premium handmade ice cream, as opposed to the massively processed alternative. In his little shop, which sold out of ice cream the very first day it opened, Herrell popularized low-air ice cream and the mix-in (or “smoosh-in” - a term Herrell has trademarked). This approach has since become much more widespread, often in shops founded by former Steve’s employees, like Amy’s and Toscanini’s, as well as being the basis for chains like Cold Stone Creamery.

Herrell sold the company to Bertucci’s founder Joe Crugnale in 1977.  After the three-year  non-compete clause ran out, he opened Herrell’s in Northampton, taking all of his original techniques and recipes with him. Herrell’s is still turning out delicious ice cream for Western Massachusetts inhabitants and visitors, and Steve himself still works at the shop.

[caption id="attachment2245" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="">Flavor Board The board of flavors at Steve's Ice Cream in Davis Square. Watch the full story.[/caption]

The news footage in our collection is not an edited story about Steve’s, it’s a field tape with all the original unedited footage shot for a story. Its starts with b-roll of interiors of the front of the shop. See the famous board listing all of the flavors, and the old fashioned ice and salt machine that Herrell used to make his low-air, incredibly thick ice cream, that everyone went crazy for. There is also footage of Steve and employees prepping the ice cream ingredients in the back of the shop, and a staged customer interaction to capture the procedure of ordering smoosh-ins at the counter. Following the b-roll, the reporter interviews Herrell about a new FDA regulation, requiring food distributors to add to their labels whether they use natural or artificial flavors. Herrell’s attitude about ice cream and business comes through in the interview, for those who want to get a sense of what he was like in the early days.