Photo Credit: Ryan J Lane
Black-Owned Vegan Ice Cream Shop In Baltimore Offers Treats With Social Activism
Cajou Creamery is a Black-owned vegan ice cream shop that opened in Baltimore in August.
All of its flavors are made from plant-based ingredients, while aiming to meet a growing preference for sustainable, healthier foods. The founders, Nicole Foster and her husband Dwight Campbell, are also big on social activism and have been recognized for their work by outlets such as The Washington Post.
The thing that makes Cajou (meaning cashew in French) so unique is the products that are free of artificial chemicals. They are made from scratch with cashew milk, pure cane sugar and nutrient-rich and responsibly-sourced ingredients.
“We’re not your average ice cream shop. All of our flavors are inspired by the globe. We want to bring you the world on a spoon,” Nicole Foster told CBS Baltimore.
“Our ice creams are basically places that we’ve been to, places that we’ve taken our kids. Native desserts that we’ve encountered that we love, and we’ve taken back with us,” Campbell added. “We’re passionate about public health, travel, and healthy, international cuisine.”
Customer favorites from the Black-owned vegan ice cream shop are baklava, kufli (an Indian dessert made with coconut and cardamom), sweet potato pie, blueberry cheesecake, guava cheesecake, cortadito (a Cuban espresso flavor), Mexican cacao (chocolate with cinnamon and nutmeg) and mango lassi.
Before opening the store, the couple had been creating and selling hundreds of flavors for about six years at markets and restaurants.
They started making the ice cream after they learned that their son was lactose intolerant. They also discovered that there were a lot of people around the world who could not eat dairy.
In an interview with Baltimore Fishbowl, Foster, who is a defense and public health attorney with raw food certifications, said that up to 80% of Black people are lactose intolerant. She also emphasized that her company works to reduce the rate of diabetes and heart disease among Black people.
However, providing healthy food for the community is not the only concern of the Cajou Creamery founders. They also work to reduce the social problems caused by the criminal justice system by hiring and training those transitioning back to their neighborhoods.
They revealed that within a year or so, the business plans to open a manufacturing facility and evolve into a worker-owned collective.
“Many of my clients were returning citizens, and I’ve listened to their stories of indignity after indignity, how they’re offered a job just to have that job rescinded once a background check is done,” Foster told Baltimore Fishbowl. “Part of our goal is to help change this community that’s been stricken by a criminal justice system that’s left people unable to thrive after a period of incarceration.”