by Joni Astrup
Jennifer Folkens licked the competition in an ice cream contest a year ago, and now her flavor is about to make its debut in stores.
Folkens, of Rogers, won the Kemps Next Hometown Favorite Flavor Contest last year at the Minnesota State Fair with her Land of 10,000 Licks ice cream. It will be in stores for the first time the week of Aug. 20 and will be available for one year.
Locally, Land of 10,000 Licks will be sold at Cub in Elk River, Cub in Rogers, and Coborn’s in Elk River. There may be more locations as well.
The flavor is a sweet cream ice cream with ribbons of caramel and bits of toffee and sea salt throughout.
Folkens was inspired by caramels sprinkled with sea salt that she tasted while vacationing last year in northern Minnesota. She thought it would make a good ice cream and when she learned of the Kemps contest, entered on a whim.
She also came up with the name.
Her entry was one of more than 300. The top two — Land of 10,000 Licks and a popcorn-flavored creation with peanuts and dark chocolate — were featured at the Minnesota State Fair where people could sample them and vote for their favorite.
Land of 10,000 Licks was “far and away the preferred flavor,” said Rachel Kyllo, vice president of marketing for Kemps.
The fair results, coupled with online voting and a judging panel, made Land of 10,000 Licks the winner.
As she looks back a year later, Folkens said she is really glad she entered the contest.
She never expected to win, but once she did was surprised by how many people have approached her about it and asked her when her ice cream will be in stores.
“It’s been a fun experience,” she said. “People get excited about ice cream.”
Folkens’ prize was $2,500 and a year’s supply of her ice cream. She hasn’t decided how to spend her prize money yet.
Meanwhile, Folkens will be back this year at the State Fair as one of the judges in the current Kemps ice cream contest.
The panel will consist of Folkens, Teresa Mauer (Joe Mauer’s mom) and one other judge. The three of them will taste and judge this year’s final two flavors and help pick the winner, Folkens said.
Kyllo said there were more than 250 entries this year and the finalists are Rah! Rah! Rhuberry and Mini-sota Donut.
The first is a custard-flavored ice cream with swirls of strawberry and rhubarb sauce and pieces of cinnamon-flavored pie crust. The other features cinnamon-nutmeg flavored cake pieces swirled into ice cream.
People will be able to sample the two and vote for their favorite again this year at the State Fair.
Kemps, which is based in St. Paul, unveiled the contest for the first time last year. Kyllo said interest in it has been very strong.
“People have just loved being able to suggest new flavors that evoke the idea of Minnesota,” she said.