The University of Connecticut is well known for its on-site ice cream sold at the famous Dairy Bar. Each year, gallons of ice cream are enjoyed by the Huskies and those excitedly touring the college. Those involved in making the ice cream recently gave a behind-the-scenes tour.

freezer, flavors, ice cream
Dorothy Berger


The Dairy Bar was established between 1953 and 1954, but ice cream was made on campus for years before!

Customers visit the ice cream shop to enjoy the sweets and to see how they are made.

While waiting in line, a customer can peer to his or her left and see a window looking into the Dairy Bar’s creamery.

Courtney Stewart

The Creamery Process

After speaking with the Area Manager, I was able to find out information regarding a day in the creamery process.

Employees can be seen working in hair nets and special boots, which are cleansed with a water and sterilization mixture at the door to ensure no cross contamination.

Each machine has special components and procedures the workers use to stay safe and get the job done. 

The confectioners on-site report to the FDA, similar to the manufacturing facilities for any food you'd get at the grocery store.

The rest of the supplies come from specialty vendors who supply flavored bases for the ice creams.

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Amelia Hitchens

The Work Flow

The Dairy Bar has a second location in the Student Union on the UConn campus called Dairy Bar Too. This branch is managed by the Union Street Market but has all of the same ice cream as the original site.

Both locations are employed with UConn students who work on average 11 hours a week scooping ice cream.

Weekends are the most popular days of business, receiving more than 200 customers a day.

During the weekdays, it’s mostly students. During the weekend, it’s mostly families from Mansfield and surrounding towns. 

Courtney Stewart

Local UConn Cows

One of the biggest questions many students at UConn ask is: what is the process involving the cows?

As the dairy is collected from our own dairy cows, students were curious as to whether the process was humane or not.

Head of the UConn animal science department Steve Zinn said cows are born and raised at the school and dairy cows are milked 3 times a day.

After the milking stage, the milk is transported from the Dairy Barn to the creamery.

It goes from a cooling tank installed at the barn to a cooling tank at the creamery, where it is then pasteurized and turned into the ice cream we all know and love.

Courtney Stewart

The dairy cows are kept on Horsebarn Hill in a specific barn where they are herded by a mechanical steel bar into the milking stables.

After they have been milked, they are escorted through small hallways which lead outdoors to a dirt patch.

At first glance, the cows seem unkempt. Their bones protrude from their back. Some are urinating in the lines. No food is on the dirt which they are lead out to. They have a small amount of dirty water available, and some are missing hair.

One cow walked by me with an open red sore on its face.

Though at first glance it seems unmanaged, the cows are actually doing well and are taken good care of because they are economically beneficial to the university.

Students who are animal science majors study this process and learn about the care and treatment of the cows.

Courtney Stewart

The Life and Care of a UConn Cow

If there is visible patches of hair loss on any of the cows at UConn, it is because the fur was used for a class and they shaved it off for a demonstration. These samples are used in many animal science courses. 

A lot of the time people think that lactating cows look very skinny, but that's just part of their life cycle.

The dairy cows at UConn are very healthy as they are using a lot of their energy to make the milk.

Lactating cows are milked to prevent infection in their mammary glands.

The cows are milked to supply for the ice cream but also to keep them alive and well.

They are amped-up on nutrients so they are able to withstand the milking process. 

Dairy cows are typically supposed to eat 100 to 110 pounds a day to guarantee the healthy levels of proteins and fats.

UConn puts their cows on strict special diets so they are not grazing all the time, which is why their is no food present in the area near the milking station.

UConn also has veterinarians visit to check on animals in need. The sore mentionned earlier was being treated.

The floors of the barns and stables are constantly sterilized so the waste dropped from the animals does not interfere with other animals health or production.

Employees and students even have to change their boots and walk on a mat which has an antibiotic fluid to sterilize them when walking into the different barns. This installment is similar to the precautions taken in the Dairy Bar creamery.

It's now no surprise why the Dairy Bar, which is open year round, wins awards year after year for its accomplishments in production.   

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Josi Miller

So go to the nearest location, stop by the truck, or tune in to the annual SUBOG one ton sundae to indulge in the University of Connecticuts very own creation.