With the extremely rare exception that something simply isn’t available to me fresh, all of my ice creams are made with all natural and fresh ingredients. There’s just no substitute for the real thing, which is why I never compromise on ingredients for the sake of convenience or cost. Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices will always make a more delicious (and better-for-you) product than artificial flavors, canned or frozen ingredients, extracts, or imitations.
As much as possible, I use (and strongly recommend using) ingredients that are locally available and, thus, currently in season. Not only does this support your local economy; it’s also fun and edifying to learn about seasonal produce in your area. This connects you to tradition, to history, and to the earth by going with the natural ecological and agriculture flow of your home. Especially when it comes to dairy, using local ingredients enhances your final product enormously.