ISU Creamery gives new meaning to ‘cool’ job for students

AMES — July is National Ice Cream Month, but the Iowa State University Creamery makes the frozen treat year-round, offering new and classic flavors to customers on the Ames campus while providing a learning opportunity for students.

Sarah Canova, the Creamery’s business administrator, says they produce about 5,000 gallons of ice cream every year, in addition to 600 pounds of cheese.

“We make it a fun time here. If we’re making ice cream, there can’t be that much stress, because everybody loves ice cream,” Canova says. “Everything in the creamery, because we’re so small scale, is labor intensive, so when we make ice cream at the Creamery, we make it from scratch. We make our own base formulas, which is unique. We don’t buy a premade mix from the grocery store.”

While most of the ice cream is sold in the Creamery’s retail store in the Food Sciences Building, customers can also buy it at the cafes in the Student Innovation Center and in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The Creamery also launched an online store in May to provide direct-door service.

“The mission of the Creamery, first and foremost, is to educate students,” Canova says. “We, of course, sell our ice cream to gain back some money from the costs of the supplies and paying these students, but we need to educate them and give them that hands-on learning experience.”

Among the students working in the Creamery, Hannah Even, an ISU junior majoring in culinary food science, says her friends are only focused on one aspect of the job.

“Everyone brings up the eating of the ice cream,” Even says. “Everything else that happens, like all the cleaning we have to do, because it’s so hygienic, and the food safety stuff, they don’t care about that. They’re like, ‘You get to eat ice cream all day!’”

With the goal of becoming a product developer chef, Even says her dream job would be to work with ice cream and make new flavors for Wells Enterprises. She enjoys thinking up new flavors and then creating them.

“Getting to make it myself is much better than reading, even though I was fascinated learning about it in my classes,” Even says.

The Creamery at ISU is among only about 20 on-campus creameries in the U.S., the majority of which are at land-grant universities.