UD’s Hunt lands job as store manager with Hopkins Farm Creamery

August 27, 2012 under CANR News

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.


A Bootiful two days at Sussex County 4-H Farm tour in Lewes

May 14, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

In rain and in sunshine, Sussex County 4-H held their annual two-day farm tour at Green Acres Farm in Lewes on Wed. May 9 and Thurs. May 10.  The dairy farm, the largest in Delaware, is owned by the Hopkins Family, longtime 4-H supporters who have opened their barn doors for agricultural education for the past 26 years.

Wednesday’s rain didn’t dampen this year’s exploration as more than 700 children, visited the farm’s many attractions, such as Pig Alley and Calf Lane and a tractor ride.  Sussex County 4-H focuses this agriculture education outreach for students in preschool to grade two. Students register through their schools. Each preregistered student received a free cone from the Hopkins Farm Creamery, which opened in 2009. Students, well-prepared in slickers and rain boots of many colors, confirmed that ice cream tastes as good in the rain as it does in the sun.

Thursday’s total neared 1,000 youth.  Wednesday’s rain had left a few mud puddles for the pigs to play in, delighting the students who watched them frolic in the soft, gushy Delaware soil.  An estimated 1900 visitors including teachers, parents, chaperones, Extension staff and 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, attended the farm tour on both days.

During the tour, students, who leave the bus pinching their noses, eventually forget the farm aroma and begin to  make the connection between the family farm and the final food product – usually referred to as ‘farm to fork’ in this case was ‘farm to cone!’  Teachers and students have an opportunity to meet the Hopkins family; Walter and his wife Jenny; son Burli and wife Allison; and the next generation of Hopkins farmers, 4-H’ers Michael, Jacob, Grace and Luke who can be seen throughout the tour comfortably hanging out with the pigs, lovingly tugging on a cow’s ear and sharing their farm experiences with visitors.

Burli and dairy farm manager Bob Geiman offered tours of the modern milking process.  School children observed firsthand the all the teamwork efforts that go into producing healthy, nutritious and safe food. Under blue and gold tents Cooperative Extension educators provided additional learning, including exhibits on corn and corn products, healthy beverages and the importance of exercise.  A popular puppet and people show, the Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden was performed numerous times by volunteer Master Gardeners.

Local 4-H youth members brought their project animals, providing  a talkative tom turkey, horse, sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits  for young students to interact with and pet. UD Poultry Extension provided a chick hatchery and baby chick display, the inhabitants of which are now taking a much needed rest after being gently cupped by 1700 little hands.

Any area school or daycare center up to the second grade are invited to attend, with registration opening in late January before the May tour. The event is free.

For more information about the Sussex County Farm Tour contact the 4-H office at 856-7303.  Additional photos of the farm tour may be found at 4-H’s Flickr site: www.flickr.com/sussexcounty4h