Exterior of UDairy Creamery.
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The Creamery of the Crop

The scoop on what makes UDairy deeper than dessert

It’s only dessert. An emulsion of milk and fat and sugar that’s as old as time. (Or at least as old as the Tang Dynasty, where prescient emperors whipped up frozen concoctions circa 600 AD). We’ve all had it—scooped, sprinkled, taken for granted on a warm spring day.

But ice cream from UDairy Creamery is also, somehow, so much more.

At UD's Genuardi Food Innovation Lab, ice cream production has increased from 30 to 150 gallons per hour.

Beyond a sweet fix of chocolate, vanilla or bacon (yes, they’ve done that flavor), a scoop from UDairy is an irresistible serving of nostalgia. It’s collective memory in cone form—your sensory connection to a beloved place of exploration, to a formative period of burgeoning independence, and to thousands of fellow Blue Hens who’ve spread their wings across the globe.

“Ice cream is happiness,” says Creamery Director Jennifer Rodammer, AS13, ANR13. “I’ve seen it bring people together.”

In 2008, Prof. Carl Toensmeyer and four innovative agribusiness students looked at the 300-acre farm that doubles as a campus learning laboratory, and they brainstormed a sweet idea. With much administrative support, $400,000 raised in private donations, plus a Unidel Foundation grant for the same amount, that plan became, in 2011, the framework for UDairy’s flagship location on South College Avenue. UD’s herd of 80 Holstein cows provided the milk.

Ice cream is happiness."

- Jennifer Rodammer, AS13, ANR13

Honors College - Honors New Student Kick-off - 09.09.22
UDairy is a nonprofit where Blue Hen undergraduates—80 per semester—learn the finer points of food science and production.

Until recently, that milk was sent off-site for processing into a creamy mix that then came back to UD for flavoring, freezing and… festooning. Brownie bits! Marshmallows! Ranch dressing! (The latter was part of a short-lived barbeque flavor.)

Today, thanks to a stateof- the-art facility inside UD’s Genuardi Food Innovation Lab, the entire ice cream-making process—cow to cone—happens on campus.

But the mission remains unchanged. UDairy is a nonprofit where Blue Hen undergraduates—80 per semester—learn the finer points of food science and production. (That July weekend when the freezer broke, and everyone got a sticky lesson in the importance of affixing warning alarms to equipment? Better than any textbook explainer.)

“The passion of the students inspires people to invest and keep this place growing,” Rodammer says. “UDairy is a labor of love.”

"UDairy is a labor of love," says Creamery Director Jennifer Rodammer, AS13, ANR13.

That love is palpable for myriad groups: kids who chase butterflies through UD’s Botanic Gardens with a cone of “the blue one” in hand. High school students who visit UDairy on their first campus tour, the world at their feet. Members of the wider community who appreciate sustainable agriculture. Young couples. Senior citizens. The occasional dog. People in Seneca, Illinois; Rockledge, Florida; or Portola Valley, California—all places UDairy has shipped—who could use a little sweetness.

“It’s treasured,” Rodammer says.

Outsiders won’t get it. The uninitiated may cry overstatement. Ice cream is a simple blend: milk, fat, sugar. But those with the inside scoop know: UDairy’s appeal runs deeper than dessert.

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