Johnny Morgan | 7/7/2011 11:15:04 PM
From its humble beginnings in 1973 as a project between the student government association and the Dairy Science Department, the popularity of the LSU Dairy Store remains strong.
For many, grabbing an ice cream cone from the dairy store is one of the highlights of their visit to the LSU Baton Rouge campus.
But ice cream is but one of the many items now available from the store, according to LSU dairy science professor Chuck Boeneke.
“We now have meats such as lamb, beef, pork and goat,” he said. “We also have sandwiches, different cheeses and coffee drinks in addition to ice cream.”
The store recently began selling boudin and hot sausage poboys, Boeneke said.
In addition to products at the South Stadium Drive location, the store also provides ice cream to cafeterias across the campus and has sold ice cream at home football games.
Funded by the LSU main campus and the LSU AgCenter, the dairy store’s ice cream and cheese are made from milk supplied by the campus dairy farm and brought to the creamery, which is a research and teaching facility.
The creamery is the manufacturing facility that allows students to learn the process of making ice cream and cheese that are sold in the dairy store.
“We do a lot of teaching and a lot of research, and we use the creamery to accomplish both of those functions,” Boeneke said.
Most of the work at the store is done by students who can be from any major.
“When we are really busy, we probably are selling somewhere between 250 and 300 gallons of ice cream per week,” Boeneke said.
In addition to cones and cups of ice cream, customers also can buy three-gallon buckets.
“Our ice cream is made with non-fat dry milk, cream and pure cane sugar,” he said.
Several departments on campus conduct research at the creamery as well as people from private industry who come to learn from the work there.
“We had a joint project with Southern University and the University of Liberia, where we did a mentoring program, and one of the ladies from Africa was in the ice cream business,” Boeneke said. “She came and spent a few months here, and I mentored her; showing her how the store works. So it’s a very diverse operation.”
The dairy science program at LSU is growing, and Boeneke said almost all of the students have jobs when they graduate.
“Most of our students begin their careers with salaries around $50,000 per year with a bachelor’s degree,” he said.
LSU dairy science students are being placed in management trainee positions at Kroger, Leprino Foods, Pizza Hut and other large food companies.