The insider's scoop on Wisconsin ice cream
I scream, you scream, we all scream for National Ice Cream Month! Each year, July brings hot temperatures, long days, and the official celebration for one of America’s favorite frozen treats. Join in the celebrations all month long with waffle cones, berry toppings, sprinkles, and more.
My favorite way to observe the month-long holiday is with a strawberry shake or piece of ice cream cake. Some of my fondest memories as a child include a summer night and ice cream cake, celebrating my July birthday. The frozen rendition of a birthday dessert was always a staple for my big day, and continues to be a special treat each year. Whether you are celebrating a birthday with an ice cream cake, going on a date to an ice cream shop, or enjoying an ice cream float at the county fair, this frozen dairy treat is perfect for all occasions this summer.
Our high quality Wisconsin ice cream starts with high quality milk. Milk from Wisconsin cows helps create delicious dairy products for neighbors near and far to enjoy. Each gallon of ice cream is created with 12 pounds of whole milk. Traditional ice cream recipes are a blend of whole milk, cream, and sugar. After the base ingredients are all mixed together, flavors and mix-ins are added. As these final ingredients are being mixed in, the temperature of the mix will be dropped. Continual stirring prevents ice crystals from forming and gives the ice cream a smoother, creamier mouth feel. During this process, the amount of air added will determine the product’s density. Once packaged, the final step is to send the ice cream to a hardening room for cold storage.
A great way to learn more about how ice cream is made is to visit a production plant. Wisconsin is home to 38 ice cream production plants across the state. 14 plants also make ice cream mix. The Babcock Hall Dairy Store in Madison, Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus, or Kelly Country Creamery in Fond du Lac all have viewing windows to see where the magic happens.
Over 100 flavors are made at the three production plants combined, ranging from orange custard chocolate chip to salted caramel cheesecake. Visitors to their operations can take a peek behind-the-scenes and watch as their favorite frozen dairy treats are created. Afterwards, grab a scoop of their ice cream to taste first-hand the dedication that goes into each batch.
This July, join me and enjoy an ice cream treat. When you do, be sure to choose Wisconsin ice cream. Whether you head to an ice cream shop or the grocery store, buying local products keeps your dollars in our state. Every scoop of local ice cream you enjoy scoops dollars back in to Wisconsin pockets. As you scoop your ice cream or enjoy the first bite, toast to the hard-working farmers and processors who bring us this delectable dairy treat. Their dedication to supplying safe, wholesome food is worth celebrating this July. As for me, I may even celebrate for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!
Abigail Martin of Rock County is Wisconsin's 72nd Alice in Dairyland.