There’s a cute story behind the name Oat & Mill, the vegan and dairy-free ice cream company based in Ottawa. “It represents our process,” says founder Candace Tierney. “We finely mill oats into a cream-like texture. We make everything from scratch, so we actually don’t use conventional oat milks, which has helped us lower waste and get a super rich ice cream. Also, fun fact, if you say Oat & Mill fast enough it begins to sound like ‘oatmeal,’ part of what inspired me to make this product back in 2015,” says Tierney.
Dense oat cream, Tierney says, is where it all begins. From there, numerous extras are mixed into each 140-litre batch. For example: After a rapid cool-down and churn, a “stracciatella” process is employed, which involves hand-stirring additions in. When chocolate chunks are inserted, they freeze upon impact, providing a lot of variety in chunk sizes. They also prepare praline nuts and bake brownies in-house, for best results.
Only five flavours are sold in stores at a time. They are picked from “a combination of ones that were most-loved from the time of our farmers’ market days,” explains Tierney. “Sometimes we will base a flavour concept off of a cause, such as our Turtle Crossing. It’s a vanilla ice cream with praline pecans and dark chocolate chunk. We donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this flavour to the Canadian Wildlife Federation in the support of freshwater turtles.”
Tierney also provided a sneak peek of next month’s flavours, in a limited run available in Ottawa for online delivery: Carmelicous, a “salty vanilla ice cream with our dulce de leche caramel ripple” and Extreme Cookie Dough, comprised of a “mountain of cookie dough packed into our rich vanilla ice cream.”
Behind clever labels and and great flavours, there’s a love of people, communities, and Ottawa. “Community is at the heart of our business, because community is people and without great people nothing would ever get accomplished! If there’s anything I’ve done right, it’s finding the best people and surrounding myself with them,” Tierney says.
Tierney also champions one endangered species: turtles, as evidenced by her Turtle Crossing ice cream. “The turtle cause is an important one because it is actionable. Anyone who is driving on the road and sees a turtle crossing has the ability to stop and safely help the turtle cross,” says Tierney. “It is also a cause we felt our community was deeply concerned about.”
Presently, the incredible team at Oat & Mill is busy working on another 20-some flavours yet to be revealed… so stay tuned!
Oat & Mill makes their vegan ice creams in small batches with high-quality local ingredients. Find Oat & Mill at a grocery store near you! Learn more on their website.