Crysta Goes Visiting, Fall 2018


Sweet Dreams With Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream and Emily and Corey Russell

Before Emily and Corey Russell took their honeymoon in Thailand, they, like many of us in the United States, had never heard of rolled ice cream (also sometimes called stir-fried ice cream, though no frying is involved). They came across a cart one day with a crowd gathered around. Curious, they waited too, and loved what they found so much that they went back the next day.

After returning to the U.S., they decided to take a leap and start their own rolled ice cream mobile business, Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream. The name and logo come from a feisty young elephant they met at an elephant sanctuary on their trip. Not only is it an unexpected name for an ice cream business, “It gives us a chance to tell our story,” said Corey.

Rolled ice cream is made by pouring a milk base (Naughty Boy’s has their own unique recipe) onto a frozen metal pan. Toppings, such as fresh fruit or candy, are then added to the milk base, chopped, and blended together on the pan with metal spatulas while the milk base quickly freezes. The mixture is then smoothed flat on the pan and scraped with the spatulas, curling into tasty, creamy rolls that are then put into a paper cup. More toppings and syrups (whipped cream, caramel, chocolate) can be added before being devoured. This technique started in Thailand and is in the process of conquering the world, with Naughty Boy’s as a delicious ambassador.

Naughty Boy’s is a specialized all-inclusive trailer pulled by a truck that was custom built in Georgia with four frozen pans. From start to launch it took the Russells about six months. This included acquiring a Special Transitory Food Unit License from Washtenaw County by submitting an “intense 30 to 40 page” plan review, taking a food safety manager course, and an allergen course. “It’s a lot of paperwork,” said Corey, to prove that “we’re not just winging it.” The trailer also undergoes two mandatory health department inspections per year.

Corey is from Ypsilanti (Emily is from Connecticut originally), and it was important for him to build their business in his hometown. His father once owned a business in historic Depot Town, and one day they “would love to have a [Naughty Boy’s] storefront along with the trailer.”

Both Emily and Corey work full-time on their business. Ingredients are fresh and largely Michigan-sourced, which is important to this self-taught, ambitious couple. While based in Ypsilanti, Naughty Boy’s can go almost anywhere and has set up at Ann Arbor’s summer monthly food truck rally at the Kerrytown Farmers Market, Eastern Market in Detroit, the Northville Farmers Market, Ypsilanti’s First Fridays, Small Business Saturday in Milan, private graduation and sorority parties, and more!

Yes, you can book Naughty Boy’s for your event. Emily said that they need to have an estimate of expected guests, “So we know how much to bring and how much to buy.” She and her husband seem to have this ice cream thing down, but are always innovating and coming up with new flavors that I eagerly await trying.

Follow Naughty Boy’s whereabouts by visiting For more information contact or call 734-358-2618.


Erin Helmrich and Getting Published With Ann Arbor District Library’s Fifth Avenue Press

The award-winning Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) is a dynamic and innovative place. Not only can patrons borrow books, audiobooks, magazines, CDs, and movies, but vinyl records, art prints, lawn games, sewing tools, musical instruments, sound and lighting equipment, home inspection tools, and more. 

AADL is always looking for new ways to support the community, and one of the latest innovations supports our robust writing community. Fifth Avenue Press (named after the location of the main downtown library branch on Fifth Avenue) published its first set of books in 2017. That’s right, AADL has gotten into the publishing business.

As Erin Helmrich, AADL production librarian and enthusiastic supporter of local authors, explained to me when we sat down to chat about Fifth Avenue Press, the library provides complete editing, proofreading, formatting, book design, cover art, a completely formatted ebook ready for publication, and basically anything else an author could want in a completed book, minus the printed copies themselves. If a book needs an illustrator, they will find an illustrator for the project. 

Fifth Avenue Press does partner with local on-demand publishers like Thompson-Shore and McNaughton & Gunn at the author’s expense to produce and distribute printed editions. “[The author] could also use Createspace,” said Helmrich, “but the library doesn’t get involved.” Using a licensing agreement only, the author retains all copyrights and profits from book sales. AADL only requires an ebook copy held permanently in their collection (and if the book is published in paperback or hardcover editions, one of those would also be appreciated), and Fifth Avenue Press will be the publisher of record. They offer up to three ISBNs, one for each of the three usual book formats, hardcover, paperback, and ebook.

Anyone who has dipped so much as a toe into the self-publishing world knows that this is one hell of a deal. So what content are they looking for? “Everything!” said Helmrich. In 2017, Fifth Avenue Press published a history book, an adult mystery, a few children’s picture books, a handful of memoirs, a book of poetry, and a comic book. In November, AADL threw a release party for all of the authors, which drew 300 attendants. 

But, you may be wondering, why is ADDL doing all of this? As a way to “support the local writing community” said Helmrich, as well as to “have another avenue for producing content” for the library. So it’s a win for everyone. Fifth Avenue Press accepts submissions throughout the year, and every manuscript is looked at by a staff member. 

Other ways that ADDL supports local writers is with the monthly Emerging Writers Workshop, and Helmrich told me that many writers from the workshop have submitted their works to Fifth Avenue Press. If you are a local writer already with a book out, contact AADL (via Contact Us on their website) about carrying it. AADL also produces a local arts blog called Pulp, which is another opportunity for local writers. 

Visit for more information or email


Delightful Indulgence and Sweets From the Sea with Carolyn Kirch

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever,” said famed oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau. Local baker and the power behind Sweets From the Sea, Carolyn Kirch, was born in Wisconsin, but grew up in Florida, where she “fell in love with the ocean.” This is where the theme for her baked goods and treats came from. “Growing up in a beach town, I fell in love with all things nautical and beach related,” she told me. 

One of her earliest memories is making cinnamon bread with her mother at Christmas as gifts for friends, family, and teachers. “The recipe had come from my grandmother, who gave it to my mom with a note on the top ‘Never Used,’” Kirch said. After moving to Ann Arbor, she quickly became a fan of our local fairy doors and lore. “But [I] missed the beach,” she said. “So I decided to introduce mermaids into my baking.”

Kirch received help launching her market bakery business through Growing Hope and their Building Blocks for the Food Entrepreneur series of workshops which promise to “educate current and potential [farmers market] vendors in the best practices needed to grow their businesses.” Sweets From the Sea can be found at the Dexter Farmers Market, as well as online.
Currently, Kirch makes a variety of baked goods. “I enjoy making many types of cakes,” she said. “My best sellers at the farmers markets are my famous cardamom cookies, pumpkin muffins, and cinnamon bread.” She offers some vegan options and “can make most things vegan upon request.” She does not have a dedicated gluten free kitchen at the moment, but hopes to remedy that soon and provide customers with gluten free treats.

Kirch also offers mermaid themed parties, which have two levels. “[The first] I provide the baked goods for a mermaid party you're planning, such as a birthday or bachelorette party. The second option involves having a mermaid come to the party. They will take pictures with the guests. For children there is a book the mermaid will read. There is also the option to decorate goodies with the mermaid.” 

If you’ve already done the fairy tea party, a mermaid party is a great new fantastical theme to explore, and Sweets From the Sea makes for a delicious journey.

For more information, visit, email, or call 734-686-5601.

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