Kid Stuff is excited to announce our first GreatKids Award recipient: 16-year-old Beck Johnson! Beck was nominated by several people who have witnessed his outstanding achievements, first hand. Throughout his many accomplishments, the common denominator is one great kid who dreams big and works hard. He was nominated for a variety of reasons: personal talent, eco-awareness, family/peer support, mentorship and academic excellence.
Beck Johnson, GreatKids Award Winner – Fall 2016
By Leigh Ann Root
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Beck Johnson dreams of ice cream and so much more. At the tender age of 9, visions of an ice cream scoop shop swirled in his head. This dream would materialize sooner than anyone could imagine, as Beck’s passion and determination fueled the transformation of the family’s old sheep barn into a homegrown success. Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream was born in 2009, and this would prove to be one of several triumphs for this talented young man.
As a 10th generation dairy farmer, Beck was destined to continue on in the family business. He led the charge in diversifying the family’s occupation. “Unlike most generational businesses, it was the youngest of the family, Beck, who had the vision,” says his mother Susan Deane Johnson. “He took the initiative to train the rest of the family, including his siblings, mother and grandmother. Beck’s secret recipes are passed up from mother to grandmother and those recipes support local farmers, like blueberries from Bartlett’s Farm and strawberries from Peachblow Farm.”
When asked where his drive comes from, Beck says, “I was told when I was younger to ‘learn with my hands’ because of some learning disabilities and that started it all.” Beck says his parents are hardworking people and this is where his work ethic comes from.
As the scoop shop’s success grew, so did the demand for more production. Beck’s response was to add their 1st batch machine, then a 2nd machine and next a commercial kitchen.
Beck’s focus soon turned to renewable energy. Mike Nangeroni of New England Solar Concepts says, “Beck purchased energy efficient equipment with the intent to preserve our natural resources, but he wanted to do more. He began researching ways to reduce the dependence on the energy resources that powered his growing ice cream business. Finally after many hours of research, Beck decided a solar PV system would be his best option.”
In the fall of 2011 he hired New England Solar Concepts and in March of 2012 the project was complete. The electricity runs the scoop shop, farm stand, commercial kitchen and the family home. “We all have a social responsibility to conserve energy, save natural resources and reduce waste,” says Beck.
Beck’s ice cream education includes a Penn State University certificate for ice cream science, he is ServSafe Certified, and he graduated from the Ice Cream University. He traveled to Italy with his family in 2013, where he learned from the masters in the field. Another trip in 2014 to research ice cream production using local produce was made to the Galapagos Island. This has all happened as he attended Sunapee Middle High School.
Beck’s cap feathers include the Best of NH Ice Cream Producer in the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Area in 2015 and 2016. In addition, he was nominated for a Business Excellence Award in 2015.
A simple stop at Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream delivers deliciousness and an experience, too. You can fill your belly, climb a tree, go for a hike, or simply sit and enjoy the views. “I am impressed with his passion for wanting to succeed and the positive impact he is having on the community by creating a good environment for families to go and have a good time all while eating ice cream!” says Nangeroni. “It’s great that kids have the opportunity to see and feed farm animals, like goats, donkeys and puppies. They can play volleyball, Frisbee, soccer, dig in the sand, and climb in the play house. It’s a place to go and have some good old-fashioned fun!”
The heart and soul of this business is quality ingredients, a sustainable future and producing the highest quality ice cream with purees and pastes from scratch. This early aspiration continues to deliver the community frozen delights and more. The business is also the home of a year-round farm stand offering an array of locally made products; fresh eggs, pints and gallons of ice cream, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, fudge, jams, jellies, maple syrup, honey and beverages.
The Family’s View
“Beck has always been an outstanding individual, eager to help in any way that he can. He goes out of his way to be helpful and encouraging. He started out with an idea and built a business. In doing so, he has shown leadership, mentorship and what a lot of hard work does. Beck is a manager of his peers, which at a young age is very difficult. He shows by example and is not afraid of hard work,” says his grandmother Edwina Deane. “I have seen and worked beside him at fairs where he mans the ice cream cart for more than eight hours at a time, never complaining, showing by example what a great businessman can be.”
“My biggest accomplishment is having a successful business in economically depressed times and building it from the ground up. I work for goals and meet them. I pay for everything as I go along, debt-free,” he says. “I love the people and making people happy.”
Making people happy, is indeed what he has done. Well done, Beck Johnson!