In May, Wells Enterprises, of Le Mars, introduced the 2nd St. Creamery brand which is the family-owned ice cream maker's first super premium ice cream.
A holiday treat made in Le Mars by dozens of volunteers for the Floyd Valley Hospital auxiliary is the inspiration for the Copper Kettle Caramel flavor of the 2nd St. Creamery ice cream, according to Wells.
The story of the auxiliary's signature hand-wrapped caramel candy is printed on the ice cream's pint container.
"We created this flavor for the women of the hospital auxiliary who are famous for a sweet and buttery little delicacy known as the auxiliary caramel," the product information states.
Staff from Wells and Floyd Valley Hospital began working with the auxiliary on the ice cream project in late winter, said Ann Cole-Nelson, community relations manager for the hospital.
"Wells had brought up the idea they'd like to make this ice cream to honor the auxiliary caramels and other candies they make at Christmas," Cole-Nelson said.
The auxiliary's involvement with the 2nd St. Creamery flavor has included photo opportunities of auxiliary members and volunteers making the caramels, she said.
The pictures are part of the 2nd St. Creamery's website.
"We're completely honored with the creation of 2nd St. Creamery's Copper Kettle Carmel ice cream and how it does taste like the auxiliary's caramels," Cole-Nelson said.
"When the ice cream came out, Wells shared that flavor with the auxiliary at one of the meetings to taste and enjoy the flavor they (Wells) came up with based off of their candy," Cole-Nelson said.
Some of the 25 auxiliary board members have been more involved than others in the ice cream project, depending on whether they're past president or if they're candy making committee co-chairs, she said.
The relationship between the auxiliary and Wells isn't a new one, she explained.
"Back when Wells also had the milk plant, they would donate cream and sour cream to help the auxiliary make the caramels," Cole-Nelson said.
In return for the milk product ingredients used in candy making, the auxiliary would deliver some caramels to the milk plant staff, she added.
Copper Kettle Carmel inspired by the auxiliary is one of 10 flavors of 2nd St. Creamery ice cream, according to Dave Smetter, vice president corporate and integrated marketing communications for Wells.
It's ice cream for the younger generation, he said in an e-mail interview.
"Wells entered the super premium category for the opportunity to reach a new group of ice cream lovers who wanted to connect with a brand that shares the same passion for inspired ice cream flavors," Smetter said.
The new Wells ice cream debuted in Boston.
"Boston's thriving population of young professionals and the strong relationship we have with local business New England Ice Cream Company compelled Wells to launch 2nd St. Creamery ice cream in Boston," Smetter said.
The ice cream is sold locally and distributed in Midwest cities such as Des Moines, Kansas City, Kan. and Omaha, Neb.
Introducing the new product is no small task and the effort is based on several years of work, he said.
The name 2nd St. Creamery draws on the local ice cream maker's nearly 100-year history.
"The first building which housed the company Wells Dairy is at the intersection of Second Avenue and Second Street in Le Mars," Smetter explained.
The new ice cream product has a growing fan base on Facebook where new people are discovering the flavors, he said.
Auxiliary members are also getting flavor feedback that indicates the 2nd St. Creamery does taste like the auxiliary's caramels.
"Even just around town people are saying 'that's my favorite flavor or that's a great flavor and it does taste like the caramels,'" Cole-Nelson said.
The auxiliary will know what impact the Copper Kettle Carmel has on its fundraising later this year, she said.
"People have talked to them about it and they do think it tastes like the caramels," she said. "They're looking forward to the reach that the caramels make this year."
Candy making will start again this fall.
"The auxiliary will sell caramels for delivery right before Thanksgiving and again at the goodie sale at the beginning of December," Cole-Nelson said.
Proceeds from the project support the work of the auxiliary.
"Each year the board votes on a project at the hospital," she said."Usually they look at the capital equipment list from hospital administration to see what pieces of equipment the hospital needs, but it all goes back directly to patients."