SDSU products tempt the taste buds

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

Imagine you’ve just eaten a spoonful of ice cream. Imagine tasting its creamy sweet texture making its way onto your taste buds as the flavor of vanilla invades your mouth, complemented by tiny but savory crumbs of luscious chocolate cookies: a perfect match creating ecstasy in your mouth. You cannot help but sigh, “Mmm, nothing beats cookies and cream.”

As a Jackrabbit, you have the privilege of saying it was your alma mater that brought this gift of the dairy gods to the world. SDSU is one of the self-proclaimed homes of the famous Oreo-flavored ice cream. And it does not stop there for SDSU.

Through the dairy and the meat lab, the university produces much more than top-notch athletes and notable graduates.

In 1972 Shirley W. Seas, then-professor of dairy science, was taking a judging trip from SDSU to Atlantic City, N.J., when the team stopped for a meal in a small restaurant. Seas saw that the staff was putting crumbled Oreo cookies on top of fresh ice cream and after tasting it, deemed the combination delicious.

Once the team returned to State, they bought packages of Oreo cookies and put them in vanilla ice cream. One of the campus cafeterias served as the quality control subject in testing six gallons of the new ice cream.

“We have never heard so many compliments on a product,” said Seas on a document found at the SDSU dairy. “The fame of Oreo-flavored ice cream spread like a fire going through a dry grass field.”

After this initial test, the sky was the limit. Today, Oreo-flavored ice cream remains one of the most popular at SDSU. In order to allow use of different chocolate cookie brands, the name of the ice cream flavor has been adjusted to “cookies and cream,” but according to Seas’ document, SDSU continued using real Oreo cookies.

The dairy plant produces many of SDSU’s impressive exports: 62 flavors of ice cream, 17 varieties of cheese, and butter. Howard Bonnemann, 13-year dairy plant manager, said the dairy plant, staffed by more than 20 students, also provides all the bulk milk for campus dining.

Cheese lovers have expressed their voice at the dairy, proclaiming smoked provolone and bacon and cheddar cheeses as the most desirable, according to sales, said Bonnemann.

At one point, the Dairy Bar used to offer around 100 flavors of ice cream, but some have been phased out as a result of consumer demands. The dairy plant is always experimenting wProxy-Connection: keep-aliveCache-Control: max-age=0

h different flavors; some are successful, like the Jackrabbit, which is lemon custard and blueberry, while others, like grape nuts and jalapeño, were met with little enthusiasm by student palates.

There are also seasonal flavors, such as mango for India Nite, pumpkin for Thanksgiving and peppermint for winter holidays. The dairy plant produces around 600 gallons of ice cream per week, Wylie Scalise, senior agricultural education major and part of the farm crew, said.

Just a short walk away from the Dairy Bar is Adam Rhody and his crew at the SDSU Meat Lab, where students and the community can find assorted cuts of beef, lamb and pork, as well as a variety of flavored brats.

Rhody, the manager of the Meat Lab, said there are several ready-to-eat products, such as the Hungry Hobo Smokey Stix, ham, sliced beef and a microwavable pot roast that is available only during the fall and winter.

“We do everything from hoof to plate,” Rhody said concerning the meat lab’s operation, which is mostly staffed by students. Most of the cattle processed at the meat lab are raised locally, Rhody said.

The meat lab takes custom orders for cuts of meat, such as rib eye or T-bone, where thickness and packaging are up to the customer, as long as they allow two weeks for special orders.

“You do something different every day, and we are basically getting paid to learn,” said Emily Evans, a junior animal science major and staff member at the Meat Lab.

Evans said she grew up on a dairy farm, and as part of the meat lab crew, she gets to see “the other side of the spectrum.” A fan of the beef sticks and the jalapeño-cheddar brats, Evans said her work is a lot of fun.

One of the most curious products from the Meat Lab is the Jackrabbit Brat, a rather peculiar sausage that showcases the Jacks’ honored yellow and blue through the cheddar cheese and blueberries in the brat.

At $4.49 per pound, Jackrabbits’ taste buds can celebrate the sweet glory of the yellow and blue.

“The Jackrabbit Brat is a very good product for us. We made 50 pounds three weeks ago, and we sold out,” Rhody said.