New UDairy Creamery truck serves ice cream at Delaware State Fair

July 24, 2013 under CANR News

Moo Mobile will be at the Delaware State FairThe UDairy Creamery will be serving ice cream at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, which opened Thursday, July 18, and will continue through Saturday, July 27.

The “Moo Mobile,” UDairy Creamery’s new ice cream truck — decorated in cow spots and ears and equipped with a speaker that plays the UD alma mater and fight song — will be parked in Harrington all week.

UDairy Creamery ice cream will be available in two locations throughout the fair. The truck will be serving up sweet treats every day on Halloway Street from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Additionally, fairgoers can get UDairy Creamery ice cream at a booth in the Delaware Building every day from noon-8 p.m.

The new truck is the only University-funded ice cream truck in the nation. A collaboration between the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), the truck serves as an example of UD’s dedication to the state’s agricultural heritage and values.

“The Moo Mobile is allowing the creamery to attend larger events such as the State Fair and Coast Day with the capability of serving larger quantities of ice cream and offering more flavor options,” said Melinda Litvinas, UDairy Creamery manager.

Additionally, the UDairy Creamery operations give prospective future Blue Hens a glimpse of the hands-on learning opportunities available at UD.

“It’s a great opportunity for our UD student employees to learn how to operate a mobile facility, just another facet of entrepreneurship,” said Litvinas. “During the fair, we also staff Future Farmers of America volunteers from across the state, furthering our mission to teach students and support Delaware agriculture programs.”

The University encourages State Fair attendees to join the conversation about the unique ice cream truck –and all things UD and State Fair related — using the hashtag #StateFairUD.

For more information on UD at the Delaware State Fair, click here.

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University’s UDairy Creamery is a ‘cow to cone’ operation

June 18, 2013 under CANR News

The 100-plus Holstein dairy cows at the University of Delaware’s Newark Farm perform a very important function – they provide hands-on experiences and research opportunities for undergrad and grad students. Research options run the gamut, as the dairy nutrition research program is closely linked with studies on silage and forage production.

But some would argue that these Holsteins serve an even greater good – supplying the first and most important ingredient in UDairy Creamery ice cream.

UDairy Creamery cow to coneEstablished in 2008, the UDairy Creamery produces premium ice cream in flavors such as “All Nighter” (coffee ice cream with cookie dough chunks, crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and a fudge swirl) and “Blue Hen Tracks” (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups, chocolate swirls and sprinkles).

“UD’s dairy cows provide the milk needed for 3,000 gallons of ice cream base each month,” says creamery manager Melinda Litvinas.

The process of getting that milk starts at 4:30 a.m. each morning, when first milking begins. It takes three hours to milk the cows and pump the milk into a cooling tank chilled to 38 degrees. Second milking starts at 3:30 p.m. and runs until 6:30 p.m. By the end of each day, the UD Dairy has produced 8,000 pounds of milk, according to dairy manager Richard Morris.

The portion of milk that’s earmarked for the creamery is delivered to Cumberland Dairy, in Bridgeton, N.J., where it’s homogenized and pasteurized, then made into ice cream base. The rest of the milk is picked up every two days by Hy-Point Dairy, which homogenizes and pasteurizes it for use in UD dining halls, as well as some New Castle County public school cafeterias. The remaining milk is sold to a dairy cooperative.

Although Cumberland makes the creamery’s ice cream base, the actual ice cream is made on site at UD by student employees, one small batch at a time. All those small batches add up. During peak season, the creamery produces almost eight tons of ice cream each week.

On a recent morning, Liz Abraham, an employee who just graduated from UD, was saying her teary-eyed goodbyes to Litvinas as rising sophomore Jason Morris made up a batch of “Delaware River Mud Pie.”

Morris has been working at the creamery since high school but he’s been around UD’s dairy cows all his life – he’s Richard Morris’ son. “When I was little, I lived on a house on the UD Farm,” he says. “I’m majoring in agribusiness now, and I’m learning a lot at the creamery.”

As he deftly mixes crushed cookies and fudge into vanilla ice cream, without so much as a splotch of chocolate splattering his apron, it’s clear that Morris has picked up the ins and outs of ice cream making.

“When I first started working here, I would be covered in fudge or caramel or marshmallow fluff after making a batch,” he says.

But he and the other student employees are learning more than just how to stay neat while working with humongous vats of fudge. Litvinas hires three interns each academic year to work as student managers. Together these managers and their 30 student employees develop and implement the creamery’s business plans.

They arrange for the sale of UDairy ice cream in bulk and at campus events. They order chocolate sandwich cookies and all the other mix-in ingredients, oversee special events, think up contests and other promotions. And best of all, experiment to come up with new ice cream flavors.

“The students have a lot of freedom to craft new ice cream flavors and test them out,” says Litvinas.

Currently, the most popular flavor is “Delaware River Mud Pie,” which features vanilla and chocolate cookie ice cream with fudge swirls. The No. 2 flavor is “1923,” a special flavor commemorating UD’s 90 years of study abroad. “1923” starts with French vanilla (France was the first destination for UD study abroad), complemented by bittersweet chocolate chunks and salted caramel swirls.

Creamery ice cream is sold by the scoop or carton at the storefront location on South College Avenue, as well as by the pint at the UD Barnes and Noble Bookstore and the Marriott Courtyard hotel on campus. And now it is available from an ice cream truck that will periodically visit UD’s Lewes and Georgetown campuses, as well as special events, including the Delaware State Fair.

Or, you could get your ice cream fix by going back to school. A rotating selection of creamery flavors is available in UD’s dining halls. Each week during the school year, students on the meal plan gobble up more than 1,000 pounds of ice cream.

The UDairy Creamery is located on the campus of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 535 S. College Ave. in Newark. Summer hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. For more information, see the website.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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College partnership brings ice cream truck to UD

June 12, 2013 under CANR News

The UDairy Creamery has now been equipped with an ice cream truckThanks to a partnership between the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the UDairy Creamery will now be equipped with an ice cream truck, allowing for students from UD to get hands-on experience with a real-world business.

The UDairy Creamery ice cream truck will make its debut on Friday, June 14, with staff members handing out free ice cream at the UD Farmers Market being held in Mentors’ Circle from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

In addition to the farmers market, the ice cream truck will also be at the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park in Wilmington on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30, and at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, which starts on Thursday, July 18.

The truck is decked out with assorted black and white cow and ice cream cone spots, cow ears that can be placed below the side view mirrors and a speaker to play the UD alma mater and fight song, among other UD-themed music.

The truck will serve parts of UD’s main campus as well as be able to bring ice cream to events on UD’s Wilmington and southern Delaware campus locations. It will be stocked with a rotating list of between 10-20 flavors carried in freezers that make transporting the ice cream to those far reaching events that much easier.

Melinda Litvinas, manager of the UDairy Creamery, said she has dreamed of having an ice cream truck since she arrived at UD in the winter of 2010.

“It makes everything much more efficient from an operational standpoint because we’re not loading freezers onto a van and worried about electricity, and we’re not limited in the amount of space that we have,” said Litvinas. “This allows us to be out and about longer and with more ice cream and more flavors to serve more people.”

Mark Rieger, CANR dean, said the partnership of the two colleges in bringing the ice cream truck to the University is “yet another way that UD demonstrates its commitment to quality undergraduate education.”

He added the project would bring students from the two colleges together in an atmosphere designed to foster creativity. “CANR students will work side-by-side with Lerner students to find new markets and learn to be entrepreneurial with our UDairy Creamery ice cream. Real-world experience is a value that both colleges strongly support.”

Bruce Weber, Lerner dean, echoed those sentiments, saying, “An essential element of the Lerner College’s strategy is to emphasize experience driven learning more than any other business school, and this is just a perfect fit with that objective.”

Weber also stressed the importance of interdisciplinary partnerships. “Interdisciplinary is not optional,” he said. “We’ve got to be doing it and we’ve got to be doing more of it. There’s no longer an argument for siloed disciplinary based activities in universities. The exciting activities in universities now are at the intersections of fields – combine entrepreneurship with a dairy farm that makes ice cream and the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.”

The partnership established between the two colleges involves the UDairy Creamery and the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, an academic program at the University made possible by alumnus Charles W. Horn and his wife Patricia that is centered on entrepreneurial education.

Dan Freeman, associate professor of business administration and director of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, said the program is open to all students at the University, not just those who attend the Lerner College.

The Horn Program, he said, “offers a variety of courses, degree programs and co-curricular activities, all aimed at helping students to learn about entrepreneurship and develop an entrepreneurial mindset and the knowledge and skills needed to be entrepreneurial.”

Freeman said that teaming with the UDairy Creamery made sense because it allows entrepreneurial students the ability to get hands-on experience in a real-world setting.

Freeman plans to integrate the truck into the Horn Program curricula for youth programs and its Introduction to Entrepreneurship course. Students will learn about the economics of the truck, generate and screen opportunities for deploying the truck, formulate operational and go-to-market plans, and then implement the plans.

They will also get to see how well their financial forecast maps on to real-world profit and loss from following their plans.

“It’s a known business but at the same time it can be a new business each and every time you drive out of the driveway. From an entrepreneurial education standpoint, that is perfect,” said Freeman.

“I know it’s cliché but it’s definitely win-win,” said Weber. “We’re doing something that’s going to bring the UDairy Creamery product to lots more places, but it’s also going to provide an entrepreneurial experience to a lot of students. It’s a perfect example of experience driven learning.”

For more information, visit the UDairy Creamery website, follow the creamery on Twitterand visit the Facebook page.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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