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Updated: April 1, 2024 / 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

Manufacturing awards: Mrs. Moriconi's provides a sweet boost to local dairy industry

photo | Courtesy of MRS. MORICONI'S ICE CREAM Julia Moriconi (right) packages up ice cream at the company's Whittall Mills facility.
  2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards
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Once a firefighter and paramedic by trade, Mrs. Moriconi’s Ice Cream Founder Julia Moriconi moved to Worcester 10 years ago with her husband, seeking a centralized location so he could pursue his career as a touring musician in the Northeast.

Moriconi’s move to the area came after she graduated from the International Culinary Center in New York, where she excelled at coursework related to dairy products and frozen treats. This later inspired her to enroll in food safety and dairy science courses at Pennsylvania State University, a program where the most famous participants were Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, of Ben and Jerry’s fame. After two years of frequent travel between Worcester and Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, Moriconi graduated from Penn State’s program in 2019.

By 2020, she was laser-focused on the process of opening her own business. So focused, in fact, she hardly noticed the increasingly alarming news regarding the economic impact of COVID-19.

“I was going to start a business, opening Memorial Day of 2020. I was doing everything I needed to do, getting ready to pull the trigger on my Small Business Administration loans. I had a [prospective] location but got nothing back from the landlord for two weeks,” she said. “I wasn’t paying attention to the news and didn’t realize we were heading right towards a shutdown.”

A bio box for Mrs. Moriconi's Ice Cream
A bio box for Mrs. Moriconi's Ice Cream

Too invested in the concept to back down, she plowed ahead. An early trial run of vending ice cream at the Shrewsbury Farmers Market resulted in her selling 100 pints in 90 minutes.

The success of Mrs. Moriconi’s Ice Cream hasn’t slowed since, allowing her to open a manufacturing facility in the old Whittall Mills complex in Worcester, a former carpeting manufacturing plant home to a hodgepodge of small businesses and startups, including the Courthouse Brew and Acoustic Java Roastery & Tasting Room.

Businesses in the complex communicate and cooperate frequently, but Moriconi’s collaborative spirit extends outside the premises to the dairy farms providing her with raw ingredients.

Changing attitudes about dairy consumption, price fluctuations, the rise of mega-dairy farms, and other factors have caused unprecedented hard times for small dairy farmers, Morconi said. To provide a boost for these mom-and-pop operations, Moriconi has collaborated with locals like Goss Farm in Dunstable and Maple Line Farms in Hadley for her raw materials and to launch co-manufactured brands, part of a pledge to use as many local products as possible.

This pledge has extended outside the world of dairy; Moriconi uses compostable recyclable packaging made in New Hampshire and locally-grown cranberries and blueberries to make sorbets.

This has attracted attention from the other side of the world. Moriconi is in talks with a company in India to help launch an American line of its products.

All of the connections Moriconi has made locally makes her husband and herself glad they chose Worcester as their home. “Ever since we decided to move out here, it’s been a wonderful place.” she said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this profile incorrectly stated that Moriconi was once an EMT. In fact, she was actually a paramedic and firefighter. 

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