Greyston Bakery: The People Behind Those Amazing Fudgy Brownies

December 27, 2015

At Ben & Jerry’s, we think brownies are better with ice cream, just like ice cream is better with brownies. Both are better when they don’t just taste good, but they’re helping do good, as well. When there’s a chance to team up with like-minded, values-led suppliers that offer the highest quality ingredients and use business for social benefit, we go all in. And from the start of our relationship with Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York City, it was clear there was a lot more than deliciously fudgy brownies cooking in the proverbial oven.

Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie - Greyston Bakery

A Tasty Partnership From Day One

Right around the time Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru Peter Lind came up with the idea for Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Ben Cohen was talking with Bernie Glassman from Greyston Bakery about a collaboration. At that time, Greyston was making cakes, pies, tarts and brownies for New York City area restaurants. It took months of ingenuity, testing and tweaking, and a good deal of traveling back and forth between Vermont and New York, to perfect the namesake 1-inch square brownie bites. In fact, the first few shipments of brownies showed up as giant 25 lb solid frozen blocks! Of course Peter and Greyston eventually nailed it, and our partnership has been going strong for 25 years.

Bakers at Greyston Bakery showing pint of Ben & Jerry

Bakers on a Mission

The sweetest part is how far Greyston’s own success has come. Greyston was founded during the 1980’s urban housing crisis in NYC, and the city largely ignored the fledgling social enterprise. By offering open hiring to employment-challenged people, Greyston has now grown to have a major impact on a borough where nearly one in six residents live below the poverty line.

Based around the idea of “PathMaking,” Greyston programs support employees and their families while they turn around troubled lives and advance their careers and education. By investing 100% of their profits back into the Yonkers community through its non-profit foundation, Greyston reaches over 5,000 individuals annually— with services including affordable housing and child care, community gardens, workforce development, and now urban sustainability and energy efficiency.

As they say at Greyston, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” And with 126 full time employees (and a standing list of between 600-700 waiting for a job), the business is now looked at as a social enterprise leader in NYC, and around the world.

Ben & Jerry's and Greyston Bakery

25 Years of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Baking for Jobs

Ben & Jerry’s and Greyston started out on a mission to marry creamy ice cream with chewy, fudgy brownies. And as we’ve both grown together, the shared passion for linked prosperity— a concept that what’s good for our employees and suppliers is also good for business— has made our partnership a real success.

As a certified B-Corp, Greyston joins Ben & Jerry’s and over 1,000 companies worldwide in the unified goal to use business as a force for good for people and the planet. So go ahead and dig into a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and know that all that tasty, chewy goodness is also doing some serious good for the people that need it the most.