Tastemakers 2013: Jess Eddy + Crista Freeman
By Jerry Portwood
Photography by Andy Ryan
Located in a converted factory on the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, waterfront — a ramshackle incubator for bicycle, furniture, and building designers—Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman’s small but tidy office is a study in creative cool, just a few blocks from the cozy apartment they share together. “We always wanted to walk to work,” Eddy (left) jokes. Plus, keeping active helps keep them from packing on the pounds, since their small-batch ice cream business could easily tempt them to indulge in their favorite pastime. “We consider ourselves professional eaters,” says Freeman, “and we weren’t happy with paying $18 a pint for things that weren’t making us happy.”
It all started on Valentine’s Day three years ago, when the couple, who met on a dating site, made an ice cream version of a childhood favorite involving Ritz crackers, peanut butter, and Marshmallow Fluff. After enthusiastic friends said they should sell their fanciful creations, they began making small batches and selling it at New York street festivals under the name Phin & Phebes (a shortened version of a Freeman family name, combined with Eddy’s middle name). When it sold out, they took the leap, quit their jobs, and attended a seven-day intensive course at Ice Cream University (yes, that’s a real thing), where they relearned how to do everything again, but professionally.
Now their pints — everything from Vietnamese iced coffee to dark chocolate salty caramel — with whimsical lettering and artwork, can be found in 160 stores in 18 states. Although they haven’t managed to manufacture a version of that original Fluffnut flavor, the inspiration lives on in the name of their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel — who isn’t too proud to beg for a bowl of her own.