Chill with ice cream during hot summer months
My name is Julia Nunes and I am the newly selected 73rd Alice in Dairyland. I am stepping into this position in one of the hottest months of the year – July – which also happens to be National Ice Cream Month!
Growing up on a dairy farm in Chippewa Falls, ice cream has always been a staple in my diet. Like 95 percent of the farms in Wisconsin, my farm is family owned. Wisconsin is home to over 7,000 dairy farms which are all a part of the dairy community that has a $45.6 billion impact on our state’s economy.
Ice cream is perfect for summer served up with fresh fruit, in a cake, or – my personal favorite – in a waffle cone. Wisconsin’s high quality ice cream begins with high quality milk, a natural source of protein, calcium and seven more essential nutrients. It takes 12 pounds of whole milk to make one gallon of ice cream. 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 will be dropped. Continual stirring prevents ice crystals from forming and gives the ice cream a smoother, creamier texture. 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.
Many Wisconsin ice cream lovers are familiar with the Babcock Hall Dairy Store in Madison, but did you know that UW-River Falls also has its own dairy plant? Falcon Foods products are produced primarily by UWRF students in the dairy and meat pilot plants on campus. Freddy's Dairy Bar is the storefront of Falcon Foods, which has been in operation since 1983 and is a part of the Something Special from Wisconsin program through the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection. Freddy’s Dairy Bar sells many different flavors of ice cream to the UW-River Falls campus and surrounding communities.
One of my favorite places to visit with my family in Chippewa Falls is Olson’s Ice Cream Parlor. They make their own ice cream right in the heart of town, attracting visitors from all over the state. Olson’s Ice Cream is a proud producer of Wisconsin dairy products and has been contributing to the vitality and economic health of the Chippewa Falls area since 1944. My favorite flavor combination is a waffle cone filled with Mocha Mud Pie ice cream, which is a blend of coffee and chocolate fudge flavors. Remember to eat your ice cream fast enough – before it melts!
From topping vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit and whipped cream, to more daring combinations of hot fudge, banana, and whatever else might fit in your bowl, ice cream is the perfect way to enjoy summer. While June Dairy Month has come to a close, there are still so many opportunities to celebrate all the dairy goodness during the month of July.
I am so excited for the opportunity to serve Wisconsin as the 73rd Alice in Dairyland and to promote the diverse agricultural products we have in our state. From award-winning cheeses to unique crops and products like ginseng, mink pelts, dry whey, cranberries and much more, I look forward to traveling Wisconsin and learning from farmers as I go.
Julia Nunes is the 73rd Alice in Dairyland