Chi Ndika dishes on her vegan avocado ice cream, Luv Fats.
By Courtney Runn
If there’s ice cream in the freezer, Chi Ndika knows it’s going to be a good day. The owner of Luv Fats Ice Cream, Ndika is never short on her favorite treat and spends her weeks concocting new flavors to serve at the farmers markets. In 2016, she started experimenting with vegan ice cream for her mom who couldn’t eat dairy. Instead of opting for the more commonly used banana or sweet potato as a thickening agent, she turned to avocados for their creaminess and mild flavor. The recipe was a hit. Soon, her friends started booking her to sell ice cream at gigs around town and, in 2018, Ndika officially launched her business.
Entrepreneurship came naturally to her after a life of side hustling. She started Luv Fats without taking out loans or even applying for a credit card, choosing the farmers-market route for its low overhead cost and direct access to millennial women, one of her primary demographics.
Eating ice cream has always been an important ritual for Ndika. Growing up, she picked up a pint at Walmart every weekend with her best friend and a spoonful of coffee or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream still brightens any day. Despite the labor-intensive work, she says she can’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of her life.
In accordance with the Texas Farmers Market regulations, Ndika sources all of her ingredients locally, often at neighboring market booths. She relies on local farmers to guide her flavors, using in-season ingredients like butternut squash, lemon balm, dewberries, pecans and citrus to create her surprising— and popular—flavor combinations.
“The best feedback is when kids like [the ice cream] and continue to ask their parents if they can come back to our booth,” she says.
While COVID-19 halted many industries, ice cream is still in demand. Ndika isn’t allowed to serve individual scoops, but she can still sell pints at the markets and has noticed old and new fans alike rallying to support her. For now, she’s viewing this season as a time to save money and connect with customers, but the dream of one day opening a brick and mortar is still alive: “There’s just something so nostalgic about going into a really cute ice-cream shop and getting ice cream.”
Matcha & Lavender
WHERE TO PICK UP A PINT
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
Texas Farmers Market – Mueller
4209 Airport Blvd. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.