Monday, May 17, 2010

Ben & Jerrry Ice Cream Expedition

I first heard about the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Factory Tour (1-866-BJ-TOURS) on a program about food factory tours on a national television network. Perhaps because I toured several food production factories while working on my bachelor's degree in foods and nutrition, I continued to find such tours very interesting. However, the Ben and Jerry tour might be called "edutainment", because it is both educational and VERY entertaining! For this reason, and for the fact that it is located on a mountain with a great view of the surrounding countryside, it is often rated at Vermont's #1 tourist attraction.

The Ben & Jerry indoor facilities include a gift shop, filled with all things related to ice cream (lower left photo), displays of all their product containers (top photo), and clean restrooms (lower right photo). The blue hallway and blue door leading into the women's restroom is just a hint of what you will find on the other side of the blue door. Each toilet compartment door has a sign asking "How blue is your woo?". The sign goes on to explain that the water in their toilets is blue to indicate it is recycled water, and thus, better for the planet. It seems that Ben & Jerry are very environmentally conscious.

The 30-minute guided tour includes a company history movie (upper right photo), an overhead view of the ice cream production room, with an explanation of the manufacturing process (no photos are permitted during that part of the tour), and of course, a sample of the ice cream that is being produced that day (middle & lower right photo) But wait----there's more!! The price of the tour also includes a regular size scoop of ice cream of your choice of flavors, in a sugar cone (lower left photo). Since I was in the land of maple syrup, I chose the nut and maple-flavored ice cream. Do I need to tell you that it was delicious??!!!

There are several photo opportunities, both inside the building, as well as outside on the beautiful grounds. You can put your head inside the cutouts on a reproduction of a Ben & Jerry's lid, or you can make yourself "berry special" (right middle photo) in the sampling room. How about a photo under the "Arch d' Triumph" that declares Peace, Love, and Ice Cream (upper right photo). The upper left photo shows me inside a carton of Ben & Jerry's ice cream called "Euphoric Stuff". It is not surprising that a place that combines fresh milk with all kinds of sweets, is so popular, and is described by such words as "euphoric" or "#1 attraction". After all, thousands of years ago, the Lord spoke these words to Moses in Exodus 3:8 "So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey." Trust me----the Ben & Jerry Factory tour is flowing with (frozen) milk and a variety of sweets such as honey, stirred into it, so in a way, that makes it similar to "The Promise Land" that the people of Israel were searching for. But you don't have to search---just go to the to find out additional information about this and many other "heavenly" places in Vermont. Miles of smiles! Tricia
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