Appalachain Ice Cream

These hot summer days call for cooling off by eating ice cream. (I’ve literally been eating ice cream everyday after Ramadan - a month where Muslims abstain from food and drink). But anyways besides the point, this Lavender/Honey ice cream from Ellen’s Ice Cream (located in Charleston, WV) is so creamy, light and absolutely delicious. And most of all this ice cream has a story to tell.  

This Lavender/Honey ice cream is infused with the flavor of Appalachia's healing remedy, lavender, from the destructive acts of strip mining.

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Let’s talk about West Virginia’s coal industry for a second

West Virginia is known for its coal economy and it has been providing underground mining coal for more than 200 years. Reserves have cleared up from underground mining, and unfortunately the next step has been strip mining. Strip mining, also known as mountain-top removal, damages the “icons of WV”, destroys wildlife habitat, pollutes the water, and releases years of toxic chemicals stored inside the mountains. These toxic chemicals result in major contamination of the environment, causing heart, lung and kidney diseases, and cancer. And while, scientists and researching teams have proven these harmful implications, coal mining industries continue to choose ultimate destruction.

Once, the mountains have been decapitated there is no going back. The result is sadly the image seen below.

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Photo: PBS news hour

Photo: PBS news hour

Being born and raised in the appalachian mountains of the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia, I’ve taken its beauty for granted. It wasn't until I moved away for grad school that I developed a new appreciation for its beautiful nature.

As protection of the mountains is severely important - but since the damage has been done - a reclamation of the strip mined land must be addressed. Lavender has become that healing remedy. 

So what does lavender have to do with coal mining?

A sustainable organization called the Green Mining Business Model is reviving the land by growing a blanket of lavender over the scarred surface. And guess who harvests and grows the lavender fields... (Yup!) the unemployed coal miners. This business model recreates jobs for coal miners who are trained to produce and process the beneficial essential oil, which is then sold to manufacturers and consumers. 

Ellen’s Ice Cream  is one of those consumers that uses the essential oil to make the delicious Lavender/Honey ice cream. 

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So if your not craving it yet, the Lavender/Honey ice cream is at Ellen’s for a limited time and it’s only available this week. Hurry up before it melts away!  ;) 

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To read more about the effects of strip mining read here
for organizations in WV that have done great work to stop strip mining look here