How sweet it is: Ruby Jewel debuts ice cream “Samsonwich”

Lisa Herlinger of Ruby Jewel serves up a pyramid of “Samsonwiches.” Photo by Kathy Street, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Sales of the new ice-cream sandwich benefit elephant conservation worldwide

PORTLAND, Ore. — As summer heats up, humans aren’t the only ones who like to cool down with a frozen treat. Samson, the newest member of Oregon Zoo elephant family, beat the heat on Monday with a pachyderm-sized pyramid of “Samsonwiches,” the latest offering from local hand-made ice-cream purveyors Ruby Jewel.

The strawberry, banana and apple ice-cream sandwich is now available at the Ruby Jewel cart at the zoo. A dollar from every sandwich sold goes to the Oregon Zoo Foundation, which supports the zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts and has established a $1 million fund benefitting Asian elephants.

“Samson ate his ice cream sandwich in about three bites,” said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo’s elephants. “Of course, Ruby Jewel asked us about his favorite fruits so they could include them in the recipe.”

Watch Samson enjoying his “Samsonwiches” at

The fruit-flavored ice cream is sandwiched between two lemon cookies and covered with rainbow sprinkles. In keeping with the mission of elephant conservation, the sprinkles are made with all-natural ingredients, including sustainable, deforestation-free palm oil.

Palm oil is the world’s most popular vegetable oil, used in everyday products like toothpaste, chocolate bars and lipstick. When tropical habitats are destroyed to produce palm oil, elephants and many other species are left homeless. Usingdeforestation-free palm oil, like the type found in the Samsonwich, is one way to support elephant conservation efforts around the world.

Ruby Jewel will sell the Samsonwich all summer long from its cart at Elephant Plaza, within view of the elephant who inspired its creation.

The Oregon Zoo is recognized worldwide for its Asian elephant program, which has spanned more than 60 years. Considered highly endangered in their range countries, Asian elephants are threatened by habitat loss, conflict with humans and disease. It is estimated that just 40,000 to 50,000 elephants remain in fragmented populations from India to Borneo.

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMetCustomer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit for fare and route information.


CAPTION: Lisa Herlinger of Ruby Jewel serves up a pyramid of “Samsonwiches.” Photo by Kathy Street, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.