First comes dairy month, then ice cream

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June was started as the National Milk Month is 1937 to promote the sale of milk when consumption is typically low in the summer. Only two years later did it become National Dairy Month, to promote the use of all dairy products.

Then, the focus of the products provided by the dairy industry is immediately followed by July as the National Ice Cream month, which was designated on July 9, 1984, by President Ronald Reagan.

In 2013, the average American consumed about 19 pounds/year of regular and low-fat ice cream. Over the past 20 years, there has been a 15 percent decline in regular ice cream consumption but a rather stable consumption of the low-fat ice cream.

Making ice cream

In general, it takes 12 to 15 pounds of whole milk to make a gallon of ice cream. There are several regulations by the FDA for ice cream to ensure standards of quality. For example, “ice cream contains not less than 1.6 lbs. of total solids to the gallon, and weighs not less than 4.5 lbs. to the gallon. Ice cream contains not less than 10 percent milkfat …”

The higher premium ice cream will have considerably more than 10 percent fat, e.g. 18 percent fat. Ice cream manufacturers whip air into the ice cream to add volume (called override), but this is regulated by the minimum weight of a gallon of ice cream.

Ice cream is a treat to cool off during the hot summer days and it is versatile as a snack, as a dessert at the end of a meal, or with your favorite pie a la mode.

Of course everyone has their favorite flavor, including favorite milk shake, or even their favorite source.

Different sources

The favorite source could be a national brand, of which Ohio has several, a regional brand, or a local dairy farm market. Of course it could be the home-made ice cream made by a grandmother or grandfather.

A lot of memories are made by gatherings for ice cream at a family event or at a local ice cream parlor.
The greater focus on health by Americans today has resulted in less ice cream consumed. Yet, lower calorie (lower fat) varieties are available.

However, with lower fat, some flavor and texture to the palate are lost. Thus, smaller servings are an option, or oh well, it is summer and you are more active.

Total ice cream

In 2013, there were about 6,716 gallons of ice cream mix manufactured in Ohio. If you assumed all of this was milk (which it isn’t),this would be equivalent to only about 1 percent of the milk produced in Ohio during 2013.

Of course this does not represent the amount of milk needed to make all the ice cream consumed by Ohioians.

With about 11.6 million people in Ohio and assuming they consumed 19 lbs./year in ice cream, this would represent about 10 percent of the Ohio milk supply consumed in ice cream.

More value

So, ice cream certainly does not come close to the volume of milk used for cheese and yogurt, but it is certainly a well-recognized dairy product that brings value to the dairy industry.

I sometimes wonder if Ice Cream Month in Ohio should be September. The State’s famous milk shakes by the Buckeye Dairy Club are sold at Farm Science Review.

Over the three days, the students and I have ice cream all over us from head to toe as we make about 5,000-to-5,500 milk shakes over the three days, depending on the temperature and how many days it rains (of course, it always rains at least one day during Farm Science Review).

During the really hot days when the lines get very long, we try to work faster, but then this results in us wearing more ice cream.

So, enjoy your favorite ice cream during July, but don’t forget, we will have some for you at Farm Science Review to “top off” your visit to the largest agricultural show in central Ohio.

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