Freaking Good Home Made Blackberry Ice Cream & Stehly Organic Farms Story

Homemade BlackBerry Ice Cream Recipe from

Know the difference between an average blackberry and a Stehly Organic Farms blackberry? Amazement.  Pure eye-rolling amazement. As if Mother Nature herself reached down and handed you a blackberry and said, “Here. This is what a blackberry should be.”

Plump. They have a deep, round sweetness that is counterbalanced perfectly by the classic blackberry tang. But just a subtle tang, not enough to overstay its welcome and overshadow the flavor of the berry.

We were first introduced to Stehly Farms when on assignment for Whole Foods.  They are one of the local farms which the southern California Whole Foods carry. The are proud (and rightfully so) of their local farmers and are bringing attention to these amazing people behind the scenes.

In our early morning exploration of their farm, Noel (one of the two brothers owning and operating the farm) drove us about where ever we wanted to see and photograph. You can imagine all the garden geek talk going on in that truck. Not that we like amazing citrus, avocado, or berries. We’re only marginally obsessed after all.

At one point he mentions that he thinks the blackberries may just be starting to ripen.

“Blackberries?”, we perk.

photographing the cute Stehly children

We drove over to the vines and begin to stroll amongst the bees. So many flowers and soon to be fruit. Then we saw it. A hint of black. Then a little more. Finally a cluster with a few fully ripe berries.

We finger limbo-ed through the vines and their thorns and gently plucked the ripe berries. Slightly warmed from the sun, it was a moment of pure bliss as we ate those first blackberries. We continued our search and scavenged up another 20 or so berries to photograph. Although I’m positive everyone was snacking a couple for every one which was put in the shoot basket, nobody mentioned a word of their secret finds. Sneakies.

As Noel was fawning over his berries, he mentioned how they love to make blackberry ice cream from their pickings. “We are going to have to do that” I thought to myself. That sounded heavenly good. Especially now knowing how extraordinary his berries were.

A few weeks later.  We stopped in the local Whole Foods to grab some produce for another client’s shoot when we spied the Stehly Farms blackberries. We immediately snatched up several containers and the visions of making blackberry ice cream flooded my head.

We popped open one of the containers on the way home and started snacking on the blackberries. Somehow the container emptied in the 10 minute drive home. And then the next disappeared, and it would have been a waste to make such a small batch of ice cream with the remaining one basket, so we ate it.

No ice cream for us.

The next few weeks were crazy busy preparing for an aikido test and our trip to Boston where we were speaking at the International Conference on Food Styling and Photography. Since we were going to be in Boston for almost a week, we kept grocery shopping to a minimum. So… no ice cream for us.

We got home from Boston this past Tuesday. Wednesday, pre-dawn A.M., we were heading down to Encinitas to photograph the grand opening of a brand spanking new Whole Foods. Know the first thing we saw when walking through their front doors? That’s right! A huge display filled with the Stehly Organic Farms blackberries.  And they were on sale for the grand opening! Hell yeah!

This time we got enough to eat and enough to make ice cream. After the batch was done, and all Diane could say between spoons, “This is freaking good ice cream.”


The Stehly Organic Farms Family: The shot list for this shoot was to capture the farm, details and most importantly the Stehly family story. The latter shots were our favorite.

fresh blackberries from the organic farm …. straight to the beauty shot

detail of the beauty shot, highlight the immediately fresh farm to table

the youngest Stehly & the most fearless

she loves to fly

The Stehly brothers & their family nestled in their groves

Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe

Yield: @ 1 qt.

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

We wrote this recipe for the sweet/tart-ness of the average blackberry in grocers. If you happen to find exceptional blackberries like the Stehly Farms berries, cut back the sugar to taste. -Tough job testing multiple batches of ice cream, but that is how much we care about people using our recipes ;). This recipe is adapted from the combined techniques of two of my favorite dessert books, The Perfect Scoop, and The Professional Pastry Chef.


  • 1 1/2 c (375ml) Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 c (300g) Sugar
  • 1 1/2 c (375ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 lrg Egg Yolks
  • 1 t (5ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c (480ml) pureed Blackberries (approx. 4 - 6 oz baskets of berries)
  • 1 T (15ml) fresh Lemon Juice


  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a saucepan and gently warm to just less than scalding.
  2. While milk warms, put heavy cream in a large bowl and cover with a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Next pour the egg/milk mix back into the saucepan.
  4. Heat the milk/egg yolk mix over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Pour through the strainer into the heavy cream. Mix in the blackberry puree and the lemon juice.
  5. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Cover and thoroughly chill in the refrigerator (at least a couple hours.)
  6. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
Recipe Source:

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Tim

    Todd and Diane, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been making this ice cream for three summers now, and it is by far the best ice cream I’ve ever made, and certainly one of the best I’ve ever had! Every time I offer it to my family or to guests, they rave about how good it is whether they’ve had it before or not.

    I’m lucky enough to live somewhere where blackberry bushes grow everywhere like weeds, so we have a virtually unlimited, free supply of blackberries for 3 or 4 weeks every the summer. Every summer I make several quarts of this ice cream, and at the end of every summer, I always regret not picking more blackberries so that I could have made more of it :). Thanks so much for this recipe!

  2. Lisa F

    I found the frozen seeds really distracting in the finished ice cream (these were from wild Himalayan blackberries, though, so maybe they’re larger than the cultivated kind). Fortunately, the recipe made twice as much as my ice cream maker would hold, so I was able to strain the second half of the batch. Delicious.

  3. Rose Shawhan

    You weren’t joking about freaking good! It turned out so well! I didn’t puree the berries. I kind of mashed up a few of them in the custard and then added the rest whole. They froze up kind of hard. Whoops! Guess I should learn to follow directions :)

  4. curtis sears

    I like that you put in the ice cream recipe, but directions about how to puree the blackberries and not have a bunch of seeds in the ice cream would have been helpful. Do you strain the puree through cheese cloth or just what should one do? Or do you make the ice cream with the seeds – that doesn’t seem like it would be pleasant.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We leave the seeds in. Everyone has their own preference for texture, hence all the variations of all the different pulped to no pulp OJ’s on the market. If you are are the no seed type of person, it is easy enough to run it through a mesh strainer before freezing.

  5. Suzanne

    Wow! The ice cream is amazing! I’ve been wanting to make ice cream all summer…you pushed me over the edge. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Newschoolofcooking

    I love these Pics. This Blog is Awesome!

  7. nancy baggett

    Sorry to be redundant, but I, too, think these photos are amazing. (Ice cream looks great, too.) Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  8. Todd | Channelingmyself

    The ice cream recipe sounds yummy, gonna have to give it a try.

  9. Jake

    This sounds like the perfect summer treat! I can’t believe what a huge difference the berries make, but then again, why wouldn’t it! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. The Healthy Apple

    Have I told you how much I love your blog? You are incredible! These pictures are beautiful and this recipe is fabulous. LOVE IT!

  11. jenny

    how funny, these have ended up in my Bewise Ranch CSA the last few weeks, I did a double take as I know you’re up north, but I guess valley center isnt that far from you! I didnt get any further than popping them in my mouth directly out of the packet!!

  12. Dish

    Dang. I have resisted getting an ice cream maker (because I would use it. all the time.) …but this is tempting.

  13. laura

    Simple adore blackberries and love the shots as usual.
    Blackberry ice cream is delicious. Can’t wait to try this one. Thanks Diane and Tod.

  14. norma

    Sorry I missed this post. Lovely as usual and great shots…

  15. Vicki Bensinger

    The blackberries have been so incredibly sweet lately, the best I’ve ever tasted. Your blackberry ice cream recipe sounds heavenly. I can’t wait to try it.

    The photo of the family is beautiful. I hope you sent them a copy!

  16. Carolyn Binder

    A beautiful post, a lovely family, and I’m making the ice cream tonight for my grandson.

  17. Kristen Hess

    Gorgeous photos! And what a perfect recipe for summer..blackberries and ice cream – nothing better!
    Happy July 4th! xx

  18. Kim Beaulieu

    Just found your blog and so happy I did. Really enjoying looking around.

  19. Yvette

    Gorgeous photos as always! The kids in the photos are precious too. What a beautiful family life!!! And the recipe looks scrumptious!! Whole Foods + YOU = MAGIC!

  20. LiztheChef

    A lovely post featuring such a wonderful family.

  21. Carolyn Binder

    I’ll be making this ice cream next weekend as a surprise for Eric. He adores blackberries. We planted some this year, so I’m hoping for berries next season. Thanks for a beautiful post!

  22. Valeria

    Somehow little berries call me back to some kind of ancestral desire of collection. I just can’t stop buying them. Surely enough, collecting them for real is another story… Oh that ice-cream look soooo good!

  23. Haute Cookture

    I sooo want a scoop of this ice cream like now:) Your photography is bananas! I was just staring at some beautiful blackberries at a Publix here on South Beach wondering what I could make with them. What great timing for this post. I will most definitely be churning this up to accompany my “happy birthday to me” cupcake next week.

  24. Christi Nielsen

    I just picked up some Stehly blackberries from Whole Foods yesterday. They are huge and they are divine. I often take ice cream recipes and make frozen pops with them. I think I’ll try that with this one. Thanks!

  25. TripleScoop


  26. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking

    Beautiful post!! How exciting to be able to experience and photograph life on a working farm! The beauty of your pictures made me feel like I was there. Awesome!! Thank you!

  27. Cookin' Canuck

    Those blackberries sound as though they would be best enjoyed straight from the bush. But really, how can you resist making ice cream out of them? The picture of the flying Stehly child is so precious. I hadn’t heard about that conference in Boston. I’ll have to check that out for next year.

  28. The Cilantropist

    I love your shots of the raspberrries and blackberries but I think I love the shots of the family more. :) The one with the dad and son in the air, makes me think of my dad!

  29. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    great story and photo! Looking forward to seeing you this week!

  30. Donna A.

    I Love everything about this. Happy 4th of July!

  31. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups

    What a great summer recipe. The story makes it sound even more delicious!

  32. Maureen

    The color of that ice cream is gorgeous. What a happy post!

  33. Urban Wife

    Looks absolutely delicious! I wish we had fresh blackberries here in Florida.

  34. Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Mmm, that’s beautiful :) I love blackberries and can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh ones. I love how red/pink your ice cream is. Gorgeous!

  35. Daedre

    I was wondering why you picked some green berries, but I’m assuming it was just for the aesthetic appeal in the photographs, right?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Correct. Plus to show the full lifespan of the blackberries. They are so beautiful in every stage, it is a shame not to recognize each stage.

    2. Daedre

      P.S. I’m totally jealous. In my area, we’ve probably got another good month before the blackberries are ready.

  36. Kathy - Panini Happy

    As I’m reading your post, I’m thinking to myself (of course), I’d love to try one of these blackberries. Then I thought a moment longer and remembered, “Didn’t I just buy some blackberries at Whole Foods yesterday?” I just grabbed the container – Stehly Farms! So lovely to have a story to go along with enjoying these berries. I have to agree, they are terrific!

  37. Matt

    Ack! These are the most beautiful photos I think you guys have ever posted on your blog. I LOVE blackberries and raspberries. I need to mail order some plants for next years garden!

  38. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    The ice cream recipe looks delish and the photography is just gorgeous. The delicate raspberries are just popping off the page and make me want to go eat some raspberries & blackberries.

    And the pics of the happy family, their kids, it all looks so lovely. Great job capturing it all you two!


  39. lynn @ the actor's diet

    blackberries and ice cream – that’s just sunshine on a spoon. happy 4th of july guys!

Leave a Reply