Until he came to the University of Delaware, Jacob Hunt had never worked with ice cream. Now, as a 2012 graduate who had worked at the UDairy Creamery since the summer after his sophomore year, Hunt has secured a job as the store manager at the Hopkins Farm Creamery in Lewes, Del.
Though he didn’t have any experience with ice cream specifically before coming to UD, Hunt did grow up with a dairy background. “My family always had a dairy, and my cousin was in the cheese business for a little bit and I would help him out,” said Hunt, explaining that this early exposure helped spark his interest in dairy foods.
Hunt, who majored in animal and food sciences with a minor in agriculture business marketing at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), got in on the ground floor with the UDairy Creamery, literally beginning work when the creamery was just “a garage with four freezers and some ice cream.”
Hired as the UDairy Creamery assistant manager, Hunt had to organize the creamery’s four-member management team, as well as manage external events and develop new business connections. As he describes it, he also served as UDairy Creamery Manager Melinda Litvinas’ “extra limb.”
“Jake became an integral part of the creamery during his two years as assistant manager,” Litvinas said. “He served as a leader for the creamery before, during and after the storefront opened, and his motivation and passion served as a key factor in the creamery’s success.”
Hunt’s favorite part about working at the creamery was interacting with students and administration at campus events. He also said that it was great to see the creamery rise from being the simple garage setup with four freezers to being a full-blown store.
He credits the time spent working at UDairy for helping prepare him for his current role at the Hopkins Farm Creamery. “I think from the overall general management standpoint, it helped me a lot. I’ve run into a lot of things here that I didn’t have the privilege of experiencing at UD but there it was a lot more event-centric and marketing-centric. Here it’s a lot more employee-centric, and employee management.”
With 28 employees to manage, most of whom are high school students, Hunt said that scheduling takes up a lot of his time but that every day is different. “The things that are always consistent are that if we’re short staffed, I’ll be in there scooping ice cream or if we’re running out of ice cream, I’ll be in there making ice cream. And that’s something that I’ve definitely appreciated,” said Hunt.
As for his relationship with the UDairy Creamery, Hunt said that during his third week on the job he reached out to Litvinas for some advice but that he hasn’t been able to reach out recently because of how busy both creameries have been.
Using essentially the same process as UDairy, the Hopkins Farm Creamery takes the milk from the 500 milking cows on their Green Acres Dairy Farm and sends it to Cloverland Dairy in Baltimore to be converted into ice cream base. Hopkins offers 24 flavors of ice cream that they have all the time, as well as two flavors of Italian ice, two flavors of sherbet and then two seasonal flavors during the summer and three seasonal flavors during the fall.
Hunt said that he likes all of Hopkins’ flavors, but if he had to pick, his favorite would be black raspberry. “I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and our black raspberry is awesome.”
For more information on Hopkins Farm Creamery, visit the website.
Article by Adam Thomas
Photo by Danielle Quigley
This article can also be viewed on UDaily.