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Bronzeville, Near South Side

CBD-Infused Ice Cream Has Come To Chicago Thanks To Women Entrepreneurs

Ida's Artisan Ice Cream & Treats worked with Tulip Tree Gardens to make six flavors of ice cream with CBD oil.

Ida Nelson (right) and Tulip Tree Gardens owner Rachael Smedberg (center) launched the city's first locally-made CBD-infused ice cream Dec. 5. Nelson's business partner Egeria Williams is on the left.
Liz Barrett
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BRONZEVILLE — Two women entrepreneurs have banded together to create the city’s first local CBD-infused ice cream. 

Ida Nelson, who launched Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream & Treats out of her Bronzeville kitchen in June, joined with Rachael Smedberg of Tulip Tree Gardens in Beecher, Illinois, to create the concoctions. The collaboration birthed six flavors of CBD-infused ice cream.

The line launched at Tulip Tree’s artisanal outdoor market earlier this month.

For both women, working together has been a rewarding experience and one that highlights their common goals of being visionaries in the CBD industry, creating a positive impact on health and wellness with innovative products and being their own boss.

“I am big on the spirit and I got a feel for how genuine [Smedberg’s] spirit was right off the bat,” Nelson said. “This is going to be a very cool collaboration. It’s the city meets the country.”

For Nelson, making ice cream started out as a venture to make ends meet after getting laid off in May due to the pandemic.

Known for her cooking and baking skills among friends, Nelson bought a machine in the summer to make homemade gourmet ice cream with her five children. But as a single mother, she needed a steady income while being able to monitor e-learning from home.

The venture has grown well past her expectations. She’s been able to make $1,000 in a day delivering her ice cream pints all over the city.

“My goal was to sell $260 in ice cream a day for five days a week, and I surpassed that every single time,” Nelson said. 

Smedberg, cofounder of Tulip Tree, was the 2020 winner of the Illinois NORML Hemp Grant by Chicago NORML and Midwest Hemp Coalition in November, which aims to increase awareness and participation within the hemp industry and help businesses expand their services to diverse demographics. 

Nelson, who was a finalist for the grant, had a vision to create CBD ice cream to increase its wellness impact. Meeting Smedberg virtually through the finalist chatroom was the push she needed. 

“It took us two tries and we got the formulation down, and she’s been able to infuse six different flavors of ice cream,” Smedberg said. 

Credit: Liz Barrett
CBD-infused ice cream, a creation from Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream & Treats in Bronzeville and Tulip Tree Gardens in south suburban Beecher.

Nelson’s ice cream has 30 rotating flavors, but the most popular pints — brownie batter, vanilla, caramel, lemon blueberry cheesecake, peach cobbler and maple bacon — cost $13.50 and can be ordered with 50 milligrams of CBD agave syrup oil organically grown in the farm’s industrial lab. 

That amount is just enough to get the therapeutic benefits of eating ice cream as well as the calming and health benefits of hemp without significantly altering the flavor, the entrepreneurs said.

“Once you eat Ida’s ice cream, you do not want to eat another ice cream,” Smedberg said. The CBD “gives it a touch of a danky taste, but not too much of an overpowering taste where it takes away from the artisanal side of her ice cream.”

Nelson plans to move her operations in 2021 to The Hatchery, a nonprofit shared kitchen for small businesses in East Garfield Park.

Although Nelson recently moved to Bronzeville, she was born and raised in North Lawndale and said the business venture and the partnership is her way of improving her community. She hopes to move back to North Lawndale and hire folks from the area to sow economic seeds in the community. 

“I want to be able to shine a light on that community and empower people and show what good can come from Lawndale because we have a bad reputation,” she said. “There’s high poverty and high crime, but there’s a lot of outstanding people in that community that need a chance or some sort of motivation.”

To order Nelson’s CBD-infused ice cream, call or text her at 773-956-3353. She delivers Friday, Saturdays and Sundays all over the city and some suburbs. You can also order online from Tulip Tree Gardens. 

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