The creamery which produces Aggie ice cream on campus is about to shut down for three months of repairs and upgrades but creamery manager Dave Irish says customers will still be able to buy their favorite Aggie ice cream during normal working hours six days a week.
“We put in another freezer and expanded our ability to hold the amount of ice cream we need,” Irish said. “Right now we are filling that freezer so that we will have the ice cream to carry us over during our shutdown.”
The new freezer has a huge capacity with dimensions of 20 feet by 28 feet with 9-feet high ceilings.
While in the business of producing the popular Aggie ice cream, Irish said they never forget the primary reason for the 40-year old lab’s existence is teaching and research.
“We have dairy processing classes that go on. We have engineering classes that are held there. We do research in the facility, not only for research in dairy products (cheese, milk processing) but also researching for other professors who are working in nutrition, dietetics or other food science programs.”
He said most of the year the Aggie Ice Cream sales average upwards of 1,700 gallons a week, but in the winter it dips to about 600 gallons a week.
“Federal mandates require all food processing plants to be designed and constructed in such a way that the operation does not contribute to product contamination,” Irish said. “Our products lab is large enough and has all the equipment we need for our teaching and research, but processing expectations cannot be satisfied in a plant that is more than 40 years old.”
The lab is managed by the Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences Department in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.
Irish said the shutdown of the Richardson Dairy Products Lab begins Dec. 1.