Standing in the long line to get ice cream at the iconic Tickleberry’s in Okanagan Falls gives one time to ponder.
Like just how many cones and how much ice cream do the scrambling staff hand off to the waiting locals and tourists during the busy summer season?
According to owner Kelsey Hoy, who took over the 29-year-old business with her brother Aaron in 2015 from their founding parents: “really a lot.”
Her best guess this week, between bouts of making kettle corn, works out to be over a ton-and-a-half of ice cream and a quarter million cones during the months of July and August.
In terms of length, the cones laid end-to-end would stretch from Penticton to Okanagan Falls and most of the way back or about 21 miles or 33 kilometres.
In terms of mass, that amount of ice cream would not be quite as heavy as the tongue of a blue whale, 2,700 kilos (little known fact) and three times more than your average guar (Indian bison).
That works out to an average of 90, 11.4 litre buckets of ice cream, sometimes reaching as many at 130 buckets on the really hot days.
What makes the roadside business, which also offers a number of other delectable sweet treats including homemade fudge and chocolates and a whole host of collectable knick knacks, T-shirts, wind chimes and more so successful, is not what you might have guessed.
“I think it’s because back in the day my parents were super generous and super welcoming and how we got customers is they had a sign out front saying ‘free public washrooms,’” recalled Kelsey. “And people still literally know they can stop in here and use our washroom, I know that sounds silly but it’s kind of important.”
Although not believed to be the result of global warming, in the past two years the favourite flavour has changed from the old timer’s choice, maple walnut, to the much more progressive sea salt caramel which is fittingly followed by peanut butter binge.
There is no indication of just where the “unicorn fart” flavour blended (and named) by an eight-year-old Calgary girl at Tickleberry’s home-made ice cream station currently sits in the standings, however it was a favourite of many discerning patrons not long ago according to the owner.
And just because the days are getting shorter and there are rumours of the temperature cooling off, the brave souls at Tickleberry’s will be on the job until the first day of winter, Dec. 21 and will be happy to share the journey of cow to cone they have become so proud of.