Determining which university creamery produces the best ice cream is probably an unrealistic undertaking. I’m not sure how one would go about it. I guess you could do some sort of taste test, but I think the results might be skewed. I imagine people’s votes going to the school they attended or conference their school is in or, in some cases, against a school rival. You just won’t get a clear-cut result.
That’s probably the reason schools hang their hat on definitive statistics like being the oldest collegiate creamery in the nation or the latest and greatest. Some proudly point to their historic origins while others show good old fashioned team spirit.
One collegiate creamery in particular has quite a few bragging rights. Penn State’s Berkey Creamery is the undisputed champ when it comes to size. It is the largest with annual numbers like over 4.5 million pounds of milk processed and over 2.5 million ice cream cones sold. OK, that last number can be a bit misleading. The 2.5 million accounts for all ice cream products the creamery sells; ice cream cones, ice cream bowls, and milkshakes. That’s still a lot of ice cream. The money from all ice cream sales goes to the school’s Department of Food Science and their College of Agricultural Sciences.
Stats are one thing, but taste is king. So, how does Penn State’s ice cream rank when it comes to enjoyability? If USA Today’s list of top 50 ice cream parlors in the United States is any indication, it’s pretty good. Berkey Creamery came in at number one in Pennsylvania.
I guess this makes Penn State the clear statistical winner of all university creameries. I’d still like to see some type of head-to-head competition. Perhaps the NCAA can organize some type of ice cream tournament featuring the top sixteen college creameries. We could call it “The Sweet Sixteen,” unless, of course, that name is already taken.