Aug 19, 2019

Ice cream-making: a cool process

More than 70 flavors made at Fresno State

It’s no secret that Fresno State is well known for its award-winning ice cream. The popular frozen treat, sold in the University Student Union and Fresno State Farm Market, is a delight to students and the community.

But not many people may know just where that ice cream is made.

The ice cream — all 70 flavors — is made in a dairy-processing unit located off Barstow Avenue behind the Science II building. The unimposing one-story structure is home to the student-run operation.

The dairy processing unit is part of the Fresno State Agricultural Lab, which is part of a 21-unit enterprise system that includes the Fresno State Farm Market and winery. All are advised by professors and are student-run.

The dairy processing unit also produces milk, butter and cheese. But the premium ice cream is what keeps them the busiest — especially entering the summer months. The ice cream is considered premium because of its 21 percent butterfat content.

Steven Ramos is one of the students who helps run the processing unit and one of the many students who help in the process from milk to ice cream. Though most students are in ag-related majors, Ramos is a biology major.

“For an animal science class, I got a tour of the unit. They said they need workers,� Ramos said. “So I thought I would try it out.�

Milk must be heated to 150 degrees and then cooled rapidly in order to kill germs that may be there. It then goes through several more steps in a room filled with large stainless steel machines and pipes criss-crossing each other, before the nine-gallon batch is complete. From there, the ice cream is then divided manually into smaller quart and gallon containers.
All ice cream made must be frozen for at least 24 hours before it can be legally sold.

Despite the redundant nature of making the ice cream, the dairy processing unit does allows the students who work there to embrace their creative sides.

“One of the fun things we get to do is create new flavors,� said Jackie Mudnt, a sophomore ag communications major who also works in the processing unit.

Out of the 70 flavors they make, at least 40 are always in production. Such interesting flavors produced in the past include lavender ice cream. Much of the work done in creating such flavors is done in what Mundt called “the flavor room.�

Despite the unique flavors, Mundt said the traditional ones are still the best-selling, including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Being around it all of the time, one may think that students who work at the dairy-processing unit are crazy about ice cream. Not true, said junior ag education major Cassie Rudich.

“You get tired of it,� Rudich said. “After all, you make it all day, every day.�

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