By Tammy Paolino | Courier-Post
If you’re headed to the Camden Waterfront this weekend to check out the Tall Ships and that giant rubber ducky, make sure you look for Sweet Pea.
Sweet Pea is hard to miss. They have these really cool electric ice cream trucks.
I admired one for the first time at the Collingswood May Fair, and the next morning it was parked in front of my house.
I thought it had followed me home, but it turns out it was because one of the company’s employees, Bill Bunting, has a Dad who also happens to be my neighbor.
Small world, cool ice cream concept.
Sweet Pea ice cream promises
“fresh 14 percent buttermilk, fresh fruits and premium additions.”
Those sustainable ice cream trucks deliver some seriously fun flavors from Bottom of the Cookie Jar (vanilla with crushed chocolate chip cookies, mini chocolate chips and cookie dough) to Monkey Love (fresh bananas, peanut butter cups, peanut butter and fudge weave).
The owners of Sweet Pea — Vince and Danielle Marinelli – grew up in Newtown, Pa., and got the idea for the business when a beloved ice cream store when out of business. The first location of Sweet Pea sprung up in the area of town known as Ice Cream Alley.
That was 2008. Now, there are brick and mortar locations in Newtown, Doylestown and Perkasie, Pa., as well as those unmistakable trucks – which show up at special events like the Westmont Farmers Market and the Tall Ships, but also parked regularly at select sites in Philadelphia at 20th and Market and 18th and Chestnut. You can find them in Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Moorestown, too. Franchisees take the trucks all the way to Texas and Florida.
“We learned how to make ice cream, and now we put our own little niche into each creative flavor,” Vince said in a recent interview.
His wife, Danielle, is the creative arm of the company, coming up with all those intriguing flavors — everything from Roasted Pistachios, Wildflower Honey and Rum to German Chocolate Cake (chocolate cake, coconut base and caramel weave). “We call her the Chief,” her husband joked.
While Danielle concentrates on ice cream, Vince, the company’s president, concentrates on those trucks.
They are built in Hammonton at Custom Sales and Service Inc., one of the country’s premiere food truck manufacturers.
Vince is especially excited about the 2015 fleet, which “are the only 100 percent electric ice cream trucks in the country, as far as I know.”
“We’re always looking for the next way we can make them better. Solar panels? We keep working together with them. They are really great people.”
Those trucks are a “magnet,” Marinelli said.
At the Tall Ships, you can find them parked in four locations, including the prime spot in front of the Rubber Duck.
“It’s a new generation,” Vince says of the company’s constant innovation. “I’m 48 years old and I grew up on Mister Softee and Jack and Jill … and they were before their time and they did very well.”
But at a time when “recycling is second nature,” even ice cream must evolve.
Danielle is busy now with seasonal flavors.
“It comes from her being in the Bucks County area growing up there, there were several well-known ice cream places. Her creativity, this little thing she creates, it’s catching on more and more.”
Sweet Pea does fun stuff like letting local school kids make up a flavor every year. This year’s involved Skittles and jimmies and “stuff you and I probably wouldn’t eat,” Vince said with a laugh.
“It’s a little corny, but it’s great.”