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Aggie Ice Cream continues to innovate

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:10

Western Dairy Center

THE USU WESTERN DAIRY CENTER labs produce Aggie Ice Cream and Aggie Cheese. It takes three days to make each batch of ice cream. SAMANTHA BEHL photo

Utah State is known for many things, and perhaps one of the university’s most well-known traditions is Aggie Ice Cream. Whether enjoying Aggie Blue Mint or Lemon Custard, USU students can be found all over campus eating the frozen treat.


“Aggie Ice Cream has been going for over 90 years,” said Donald McMahon, director of the Gary H. Richarson Dairy Products Laboratory. “It’s a rich part of our Aggie heritage.”


Aggie Ice Cream started out as a self-imposed challenge by Gustav Wilster, a USU professor in the 1920s, to have everyone in Utah taste his ice cream, according to McMahon. He taught students dairy production and processing in a creamery in Old Main. As he developed his ice cream, he taught his students the trade. Many of his students went on to start successful ice cream businesses in Utah including Casper’s, Farr’s and Snelgrove’s.


“If we continue to teach the technology behind dairy production, it will strengthen our economy,” McMahon said. “By having the equipment here, we can offer classes and education to students interested in the field just as Professor Wilster did.”


The USU Western Dairy Center is one of the nation’s leading research centers for dairy foods, according to McMahon. New technology is pushing boundaries for quantity and quality in ice cream, cheese, yogurt, and fluid milk production, and students at USU have an opportunity to use these labs for classwork.


There is a taste lab where 120 public volunteers help with the research happening at USU. These volunteers taste anything from fluid milk to low-moisture string cheese to a new type of yogurt. The standard reward for the volunteers is a coupon for some Aggie Ice Cream.


“It takes three days to make each batch of ice cream,” said Randall Bagley, production manager. “On day one we receive the fluid milk, the next day we make the ice cream mix and finally on day three we freeze it.”


Freezer space is limited, so there is a limited amount of flavors Aggie Ice Cream can offer.


“We try to stay right around 26 flavors,” Bagley said. “We vary what flavors we do by doing manager specials as well as the seasonal flavors, such as peppermint at Christmas time and Centennial, which we offer at graduation.”


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