ISU Creamery opens after 50 years

ISU Creamery opened its doors after 50 years. ISU Creamery employs students interested in food science and sells their ice cream on campus.

Jill Even

The ISU Creamery had its grand opening Friday after being closed for 50 years.

Stephanie Clark, professor of food science and human nutrition and founder of the ISU Creamery, said that in 1927, the Dairy Industry Building was established as a teaching facility for training students. The building had a functioning creamery at the time; for 40 years, dairy products were made and sold out of that building. The Creamery has now reopened on campus to give food science students extra experience in their field.

The ISU Creamery is open from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, which was done on purpose to not compete with the Dairy Science Club fundraiser, Ames businesses or surrounding communities, according to Clark.

“All the things we do are intentional to make sure we are not harming businesses; we’re building them up,” Clark said. “Our goal is to prepare students to work for those industries, to go and help them improve. I started the creamery up because we didn’t have one here, so the students were not getting that experience. They were not fully prepared for industry positions. Now, they are able to get all aspects of the dairy production and processing exposure, so they are prepared for those jobs in the industry.”

Students working with the creamery learn about milk handling, sanitization, chemistry of milk and cheese, microbiology of milk, the risks of raw milk, pasteurization and the formulation of ice cream mix. They also learn how to market products if they work in the store.

The ISU Creamery was originally supposed to open in April, but due to COVID-19, the opening moved to August. In the meantime, they worked on marketing and had a flavor naming contest. During the derecho when Iowa State lost electricity, they almost lost their ice cream that they had just remade.

The grand opening had at least 50 people per hour and at least 200 orders, Clark said.

“It was a good start, and we’re pretty pleased by the support,” she said. “We had alumni; we had all five generations of people basically. We had one man who recognized the vintage cups that we used to sell ice cream in. He was [at Iowa State] back in the 60s.”

Zimeng Peng, senior in food science, wants to become a professional food taster. To understand how food is processed, she worked in the creamery over the summer to prepare for the opening.

This summer, Peng learned how to produce ice cream. This started with pasteurizing dairy, weighing out ingredients like sugar and fat, mixing them, putting them into the ice cream machine and packaging. She plans on producing ice cream this fall as well.

“I’m from China, so during this pandemic, I couldn’t get back this summer,” Peng said. “I let Dr. Clark know the situation and asked her if there were any part-time jobs that could help me expand my skills and help me know more things about food science technology, so she introduced this job to me.”

The ISU Creamery is located on the second floor of the Food Sciences Building, with metered parking available at the east parking deck on Wallace Rd.