COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland has been producing some of the best ice cream around for more than 80 years.
In fact, it's consistently been ranked as one of the best frozen treats in the metropolitan area. Long churned out by the dairy science folks in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Maryland's ice cream is now produced by the bakery staff of University Dining Services.
Not only have they worked hard to maintain the quality Terp Fans and visitors have come to demand, Dining Services has also expanded the tasty lineup over the years..
"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."
Mullineaux has had more than 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," located on Route 1 in College Park, 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.
In fact, Terp alumni routinely come back for a scoop of their favorite flavor - and reminisce about The Dairy and its ice cream when they bring their children to tour the campus.
See more Maryland ice cream photos.
Dining Services rolled out five new flavors to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University in 2006 - and they remain hits today. Other flavors are created on occasion as well. For example, Comet Crunch was created in honor of the Deep Impact mission in 2005 - and was served during Maryland Day that year. And "Explore Our World" was created just for the 10th anniversary of Maryland Day in 2008.
- Fear the Turtle, a mix of white chocolate swirled with caramel and pecans;
- Midnight Madness, a blend of double chocolate ice cream with chocolate ganache and cr¿me de coco;
- Fridge Fever, a combination of vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, chocolate brownie, chocolate covered cashews and Myers rum;
- Final Exam Cram, a concoction of rich cappuccino ice cream and crushed chocolate cookies; and finally,
- Spring Break, an exotic tropical fruit ice cream splashed with Myers dark rum.
- Comet Crunch (Served on Maryland Day, 2005 in honor of the Deep Impact Mission), a blast of chocolate ganache ice cream, Nestle crunch pieces, Oreo pieces, caramel swirl, chocolate crunch, vanilla crunch, and contreau.
- Explore Our World (Only available on Maryland Day 2008),
a combination of vanilla bean ice cream, rainbow sprinkles and custom M&Ms (c) in UM colors .
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 (that's the original 1924 Turner building above - it was renovated in 1954 to better represent other campus buildings).
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 in an 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 (left), 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. More than 80 years after it started, the ice cream is so popular that the operation has grown from one machine to two. But there's still just one "ice cream base" that remains the bedrock of every flavor, including the perennial favorites, vanilla and cookies & cream.
The single biggest day of the year for ice cream at Maryland is our annual Maryland Day Open House - always held the fourth Saturday in April. 50 gallons of ice cream were served in The Dairy during the 10th annual event April 26th, 2008 - with the new Explore Our World flavor being the most popular.
See more Maryland Ice Cream pictures.