My first taste of Howling Cow ice cream was at the N.C. State Fair many years ago. I was there for work as part of my previous job and didn't have time to sit down for a meal. When I saw the giant cones of ice cream that people were walking around with, I got in line and ordered myself a mint chocolate chip cone for lunch.
It was some of the creamiest, yummiest ice cream I'd had in a long time.
Soon, I learned that Howling Cow is made at N.C. State as part of a program of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science’s Feldmeier Dairy Processing Lab in Schaub Hall. The ice cream is made with fresh cream and milk from the university's Raleigh farm. They've been doing this since 1968.
"Our mission is to support teaching research and extension activities," Carl Hollifield, assistant director for business operations for the dairy enterprise system, tells me.
And I've made it my mission to support that mission by buying the ice cream as much as I can. Since that first taste at the State Fair, it's my annual purchase when I'm over there. And we enjoy it each spring at Farm Animals Days.
But we've also ventured on campus, buying pints and the occasional ice cream cone. It certainly sweetened the day one day when, for the first time, we met a former and beloved babysitter, then an N.C. State student, over ice cream on campus.
Right now, N.C. State is working to make the ice cream even more accessible to the public with plans to build an ice cream store on campus. Right now, officials are in the private phase of a fundraising campaign, Hollifield said. Plans call for a full-service ice cream shop with seating for more than 100 downstairs and a training center upstairs where the focus will be on food product development.
In the plans also is an exciting new venture for families. Officials are working on a new heritage museum at N.C. State's farm off Lake Wheeler Road just south of Raleigh for children. They'll also sell ice cream there. Hollifield hopes the museum will open early next year.
Right now, N.C. State staff and students are Howling Cow's main regular customers. You can buy cones and cups in the Talley Student Center.
Cups, cones, sundaes and milkshakes also are available in the Creamery Shop at D.H. Hill Library, where we got our cones the other week. There, you'll also find a fun collection of chairs in library that my kids loved trying out after our cones (quietly, of course). There's also a window just off Hillsborough Street in the library building where you can buy your cone or treat outside.
Packaged pints are available at several residents halls.
Hours vary depending on the time of year. But they ramp them back up as the school year begins and students are back on campus.
For all the details, including hours and locations, check Howling Cow's website.
And we'll be back there soon, doing our very best to support that educational mission.
This is the latest in our Summer Treats series. For more Summer Treats posts, click here. We'll wrap it all up next week.