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The Creamery


Sept. 28th, 2021

An Iowa State legacy makes its return after a 51-year hiatus, this time offering students hands-on experience like never before.


Iowa State University has a rich history in dairy, especially with its irregular experience in on-site creameries. The story has now come full circle.


The campus’s first creamery opened its doors in 1881. The dairy program grew and expanded over time, eventually hosting four on-campus creameries, producing various products and winning the National Dairy Products Evaluation Content from 1924-1928. In 1969 however, the dairy processing industry had dramatic changes, causing the ISU Creameries to close their doors and the entire department to shift.


In August 2020, however, Iowa State faculty got to open a creamery once again, but with more opportunities for students’ growth and education this time around.


Stephanie Clark, who has a doctorate in food science, had the inspiration to found the ISU Creamery when she saw a need for Iowa to focus more on dairy rather than its typical focus on soybeans and corn.


“Dairy is still important to our state; there are a lot of farmers who want to learn how to make value-added dairy products,” Clark said. “They have a better chance of keeping their family business alive if they make their milk into products, which have a higher value.”


Clark said that her goal is to train students, entrepreneurs and dairy farmers how to make dairy products correctly and efficiently so they can have the best return on their product possible.


Unlike in the 1800s, when the first creamery was founded, students are now exposed to every aspect of running a business when they work for the Creamery. Clark said that around 30 students have been taught skills like handling raw ingredients, pasteurization, ice cream-freezing, cheese-making, food safety, food chemistry, sanitation and retail operation management.  


Jazmin Lambertson, a junior majoring in food science, started working for the Creamery in spring 2021. She continues to work mainly in the retail side of the business, hand-scooping the scratch-made ice cream and interacting with customers.


Lamberston said the Creamery is entirely student-run, from the flavor schedules to the inventory and all way to production. Catering to the student employees, the store closes by 5 p.m. each day, giving them time to do homework and extracurriculars at night.


Sarah Canova serves as the business administrator of the Creamery, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business and student employees.


“Our current 14 students come from food science, culinary food science, dietetics, animal science and chemical engineering,” Canova said.


Canova said that while the students in production learn how to pasteurize, make and wax cheese and run the equipment, the students can also learn about finance management, social media management and customer relations.


“These are things that can be taken directly into a food industry job,” Canova said. “We want them to know the whole process from start to end.”


The new ISU Creamery is located on the second floor of the Food Sciences Buil

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