Ice Cream Production Press Release

A brief history of University of Maryland Ice Cream, adapted from a 2004 press release from the UMD Newsdesk information service.

Taste Test

Maryland's ice cream has consistently been ranked as one of the best frozen treats in the metropolitan area.  Long churned out by the dairy science folks, Maryland's ice cream is now produced by the bakery staff of University Dining Services.

"We're continuing a tradition and just trying to bring it forward," says Jeff Russo, the head bakery chef responsible for ice cream production.

Associate Director of Dining Services Joe Mullineaux has had the task of being one of the taste testers throughout the development process, and with ice cream being an early morning production, he often has ice cream for breakfast.

"Although it may not sound too exciting, my favorite flavor was our rich vanilla until Fear the Turtle came along.  It's rich white chocolate ice cream swirled with caramel and pecans, and although it is still in the final development stage, it is amazing.

"Jeff and his team are brilliant at blending the flavors to perfect the new products," Mullineaux says.  "It's a tough job, but somebody has to be his taste tester."

Perennial Favorite

Mullineaux has had nearly 30 years to refine his appreciation of University of Maryland ice cream.  "I had my first scoop at the Dairy during my freshman orientation in July 1975, and I have loved it since the first bite."

"The Dairy," previously located on Route 1, was the site of the ice cream making and serving operation for many years.  Today, thousands of scoops are still dished out to customers of all ages at the Dairy, now located in the Stamp Student Union.

Rich in History

For an ice cream brand that now carries over 28 flavors and produces more than 25,000 gallons per year, the production process remains nearly as simple as it was when it began in 1924.  At that time, the dairy manufacturing division of the University had just moved into its building along Route 1, and the store located on the first floor of what came to be known as The Dairy sold ice cream as well as other dairy goods, such as butter, milk and cottage cheese.

Ice cream was an immediate hit, and by 1926, 75 percent of The Dairy's summer customers requested a scoop.  This prompted Professor S.H. Harvey to suggest an in operations report that "economy can be effected by installing a built-in refrigerated box so that clerks can get the products without going back to the general storage."

The ice cream tradition continued to grow and prosper under the guidance of Wendell Arbuckle, a former University professor who earned the nickname "Mr. Ice Cream."  Arbuckle, whose accomplishments include describing the crystalline structure of ice cream and the effects on crystal size of various components in an ice cream mix, developed out-of-the-ordinary flavors such as pink grapefruit, carrot, sweet potato and rhubarb.

Russo and Mullineaux consider themselves to be caretakers of this tradition, and 80 years after it started, there's still just one machine, one person needed to operate that machine, and one base that remains the bedrock of every flavor, including perennial favorites, vanilla and cookies & cream.