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Ice cream made by Ohio State students sold on campus

CFAES students learn real-world production, sales and marketing

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Maudine's Berry Patch ice cream!

Or maybe the ice cream flavor you prefer is coffee walnut, matcha white chocolate, blueberry lavender, oatmeal cream, or even good old vanilla.

Those are just some of the ice cream flavors created during the past two years by students in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). And some of that ice cream is now being sold in two locations on the Columbus campus: the Union Market at the Ohio Union and in the Parker Dairy Store.

Students in a dairy processing class taught by Professor Rafael Jimenez-Flores, holder of the J.T. “Stubby” Parker Chair in Dairy Foods in the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology (FST), developed the ice cream varieties from scratch to final product as part of their coursework.

Working in teams, students created the ice cream samples in the Dairy Processing Pilot Plant in CFAES’ Parker Food Science and Technology Building, evaluated them based on important traits such as processability and sweetness, then narrowed the list down to the tastiest contenders.

Ankur Upadhyay (center), a graduate student from India, listens intently during the dairy processing class.In Jimenez-Flores’ dairy processing class, students learn the science of how to create ice cream from scratch, and they get a lesson in the mass production of ice cream for commercial sales, including working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to get the correct permits and approvals to sell the product to the public, said Matthew Chrusciel, a graduate student in FST who also serves as the ice cream manager for Ohio State.

“You have to get inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and turn in your ice cream formulas and recipes for approval before you can even start selling,” he said. “So, once we had all that nailed down, we started developing flavors, and we now plan to sell two different flavors of ice cream on campus every month for the next couple of months.”

The first two ice cream flavors, which are sold in 4-ounce cups for $3.50 by Ohio State Dining Services, were released Nov. 4, and six cases of the ice cream sold out in less than a month, Chrusciel said.

The first three flavors created and now sold on campus are vanilla, microground coffee and Maudine’s Berry Patch – the last of which is flavored with wild berries, hibiscus and lemon, Jimenez-Flores said. The name of the ice cream honors Ohio State’s 1926 homecoming queen, a world-record milk-producing Holstein cow called Maudine Ormsby.

The homage to Maudine is fitting considering Jimenez-Flores’ students visit the Jersey dairy cows living at CFAES’ Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on Ohio State’s Columbus campus to gain a better understanding of where ice cream ingredients are sourced.

“Most of the students in my class live in cities and haven’t been to a dairy farm, which is one of the reasons they’ve taken my class,” Jimenez-Flores said. “Students are then instructed on fermentations that we use for scientific, technical analysis of the food products because my motto for this class is ‘we need to know how we know what we know.’”

Another advantage for the students is the access they have to hands-on learning in CFAES’ dairy processing plants, which are U.S. Food and Drug Administration- and ODA-inspected to meet safety and sanitation needs.

“We have state-of-the-art equipment: cream separator, butter maker, membrane filtration, evaporator and spray dryer. So, students get to witness something that when they work in the dairy industry, they’re not going to be intimidated,” said Jimenez-Flores. “I’m proud my students come out of my classes thoroughly prepared for the workforce.”

Dennis Heldman, a professor in FST, judging the students’ ice cream.Being prepared for a career is one of the reasons Ankur Upadhyay, a graduate student from India, enrolled in the dairy processing class. Upadhyay was among the students who recently presented their final ice cream flavor productions before a panel of expert judges. Upadhyay’s team created a coffee walnut ice cream inspired by a flavor popular in India.

“I took this class because I wanted to learn more about the dairy industry because it’s the biggest industry in the food sector,” Upadhyay said. “I loved it. It was really nice making the ice cream, and everyone on the team agreed with the flavor.

Shoshanna Gingsburg, a PhD student in the dairy processing plant, said gaining experience working with manufacturing equipment is one of the highlights of the course.

“We’re in the dairy processing lab most weeks, and we’re creating different dairy foods,” she said. “We’ve made cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream – all different kinds of dairy foods. It’s just a lot of fun to get to actually see how it’s made and do it yourself.”

Of the eight ice cream flavors presented by the class to the panel of judges, the winning flavor was blueberry lavender citrus. The ice cream was made of lavender, blueberries and lemon extract.

“All the flavors were very interesting and exotic,” said Dennis Heldman, a professor in FST and one of the judges. “The winning flavor came across as something different, with a blend of flavors that was very interesting and brought out a positive reaction when eating it.”

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