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Saturday, August 6, 2016

The "Peachy Turns PB Swirl" Story

The Berkey Creamery can be seen to the right.
It was an ordinary day.  The day was close to 90 degrees and the humidity was almost as unbearable as my friend Jerry drove me around the Penn State University's campus looking for the sign that tells about "The Creamery."  I knew there was a sign somewhere on campus telling about their famous ice cream store, but you think we could find it!  After a few tries, we game up and Jerry and I, along with our wives Just Sue and Carol, headed to the Berkey Creamery for a cold treat.  Penn State University, known as "Ice Cream U" has a remarkable history as a world leader in dairy production and food science.  For those who didn't realize this fact, I thought I should give you a very brief history into how and why Penn State University is known as "Ice Cream U."  
  • In 1865 The Creamery is established in the College Barns behind the present-day Old Main along with a blacksmith's shop and hayloft.
  • Due to Henry Armsby's efforts to upgrade the college's instruction and research in dairying, a one-story building containing a cold-storage room, cream-ripening room and office space is built in 1889 as part of a $7,000 state appropriation.
  • In 1982 Penn State College offered a 4 and 8 week short dairy course that included lessons on making ice cream making it the first college in the country to offer such instruction.
  • In 1904 The Creamery processing operations greatly increased with research and development of pasteurized milk established and a Dairy Manufacturing major created.
  • In the 1920s ice cream research thrived under the direction of Andrew Borland, Chester Dahle and Francis Doan.
  • In 1931 Andrew Borland planted a time capsule in his namesake building that was opened the following year.
  • The following year production increased so much that milk and cream had to be purchased from over 300 farmers.  The Creamery sold milk, cheese and ice cream.
  • In the 1940 and 50s a delivery fleet was used to deliver milk locally.
  • 1955 saw Philip Keeney added to the staff and he began to teach an ice cream short course for the next 30 years.
  • In 1960-61 The Creamery added a salesroom along Curtin Road for walk-ins who wanted to try its 24 flavors.
  • In 1968 the Berkey Milk Company opened.  The Berkeys helped many Penn Staters enter the industry and their plant is used for University testing.
  • In 1975 the Food Science Department was created and is now one of the nation's most prestigious programs.
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield took a $5 Penn State correspondence course in 1978 on making ice cream and later that year launched Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.
  • In the 1980s The Creamery used about 3 million pounds of milk a year to produce milk, cheese and other dairy products.
  • In 1986 Tom Palchak, a graduate of Penn State's Agriculture Program, becomes the Creamery manager.
  • In 1987 Peachey Paterno ice cream flavor debuts after the football team won it's second national championship.
  • The Creamery is named after Jeanne and Earl Berkey who were both graduates of Penn State. The couple owned the Berkey Milk Company in nearby Somerset until 1968, but continued in the retail ice cream business until 1977.  For many years they helped Penn Staters gain a foothold in the dairy industry. Their plant was used for University milk testing.  
  • In 2006 The Creamery moved into the new $46 million Food Science Building.
  • In 2015 The Creamery celebrated 150 years of dairy processing and introduced a new flavor, Birthday Bash.
  • 2016 saw blog author LDub and wife Carol, along with friends Jerry and Just Sue, visit The Creamery and buy ice cream so fresh that it was made only four days before.  LDub purchased Peanut Butter Swirl after repeatedly saying he would buy Peachy Paterno.   
Peanut Butter Swirl
As you see, The Berkey Creamery has a storied history.  I'm afraid if I lived in State College, I would be at the place on a daily basis for one of my favorite treats.  I must admit, the cup of Peanut Butter Swirl that I had was a huge dish of ice cream.  You certainly get a great taste of this tremendous ice cream when you stop for a treat.  My only disappointment was that I never found the street sign telling the history of The Creamery.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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