Many adults have fond childhood memories of melting ice cream cones and sticky fingers during the summertime, including Greg Raynes. The local teacher turned ice cream aficionado is now providing this memorable experience to children in Turlock by opening his first ice cream parlor, Oak Barrel Ice and Creamery.
“I want to do something to make people happy,” said Raynes.
Well, ice cream can certainly do that as Raynes knows firsthand.
As a child Raynes spent time in a rustic cabin in Carmel Valley where his mother would occasionally show up with two things: a block of ice and an ice pick. After hours of chipping ice and hand cranking an old fashion ice cream barrel, the reward was his favorite creamy, sweet dessert.
This old fashion barrel, one of which sits in his new storefront, was the inspiration behind the Oak Barrel Ice and Creamery.
“That was my weapon of choice,” laughed Raynes.
Ice cream has since become Rayne’s calling card as he would often show up to family and friends’ houses and parties with a few quarts of the homemade dessert. After tasting his treat people often encouraged him to sell the ice cream, a suggestion he is now fulfilling.
“It’s always been a hobby of mine,” said Raynes.
Prior to opening the Oak Barrel, which had its soft opening on April 11, Raynes' main profession is teaching. He taught junior high students for roughly a decade in Ceres before transitioning to Dutcher Middle School where he teaches 8th grade math and science part-time. While Raynes is currently finding the balance between teaching and running the ice cream shop, ultimately he said he is happy to share his passion with the community.
The flavors at Oak Barrel are always rotating and Raynes has index cards of more than 50 flavors he has already developed. While his ice cream is for public consumption, his recipes are not as they contain secret ingredients to set his homemade ice cream apart from other options. His signature flavor? Root beer.
“People say it tastes just like a root beer float,” said Raynes with a smile.
Raynes has also already fielded interest from local restaurants interested in selling his artisanal ice cream. While his production is petite – his machine churns out roughly 5 quarts per batch – this has afforded him more experimental opportunities to offer customers and interested clients unique flavors.
“We can make it any way you want it,” said Raynes. “This really is artisanal small batch ice cream. It’s me making it.”
The Oak Barrel Ice and Creamery is located at 197 S. Golden State Blvd. Hours are: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, and closed on Mondays.