By Stacey Dresner
NORTHAMPTON – On Sept. 21, the new kitchen at Herrell’s Ice Cream, at 8 Old South St. in Northampton was filled with sounds of singing, jokes and laughter as three rabbis worked toward certifying the business’s products as kosher.
From 8 a.m. until late in the afternoon, the rabbis worked to kasher Herrell’s kitchen and all of its equipment under the auspices of Pioneer Kosher (PK), the new symbol of Rabbi Tuvia Helfen of the Chabad Northampton, Rabbi Shumel Kravitsky of Chabad Nation in Amherst and Rabbi Bentzion Chanowitz of Chabad of Monticello, N.Y.
Herrell’s Ice Cream products will now fall under two categories: Kosher dairy and Kosher DE (dairy free ingredients made on dairy equipment). These categories include ice cream and No-Moo® Dairy Free frozen desserts and No-Moo® Dairy Free and dairy, baked-good products.
“We are so proud to be Pioneer Kosher’s first kosher location. It’s a dream come true for me,” said Judy Herrell, president of Herrell’s Ice Cream. “Herrell’s Northampton has wanted to have kosher certification for over 35 years…but we didn’t have space to manufacture outside the store. Because we manufactured in the space, we couldn’t be kosher because we are open on Shabbos. So we decided in about 2012 to begin on a three-phase project. We built the kitchen first, that was phase one.”
The new “railroad kitchen”, which is long and narrow with workspace on each side, is adjacent to the store. The new manufacturing kitchen is now Kosher Certified, using the new kosher symbol. All of Herrell’s products are now certified kosher.
“Pioneer Kosher looks forward to working with other local business to kasher as well, as PK is very sensitive to each individual business’s needs,” said Rabbi Helfen.
The newly renovated Herrell’s store opened for business on Nov. 6.
Herrell’s is now working on Phase Two, the store. “We are creating an opening from the kitchen to the store and vice versa,” Judy explained.
Phase three, to make Herrell’s handicap-acccessible will begin in the first quarter of 2017.