UNIVERSITY PARK — For Penn State Berkey Creamery customers who have been pining for hand-dipped ice cream, the wait is almost over.
The creamery will begin offering the retail-store staple starting Monday, March 22, noted Jim Brown, creamery sales and marketing manager.
“Due to the pandemic, we have been selling prepackaged items in the store since last spring,” he said. “We’re excited to start dipping again — it’s a long time coming.”
While scooped ice cream in bowls — with a cone on top, if requested — is on the verge of returning to the menu, the second most requested made-to-order treats, milkshakes, are not. Brown says fans should not be too soured because the decision is temporary.
“We are reintroducing our made-to-order and self-serve options slowly,” he said. “We have to be cautious about offering products that potentially involve hand-to-hand contact. Like everyone, we are eager to get back to normal operations, but it’s important that we walk before we run.”
The creamery, which is open seven days a week from noon until 6 p.m., has implemented practices to ensure the safety of customers and employees. With the news that the creamery will be scooping again — and with spring weather on the horizon — management has decided to take extra safety precautions, in addition to those already in place.
“Because the creamery is a food manufacturing plant, cleaning and sanitizing always have been a part of our daily routine,” said Robert Roberts, professor and head of food science in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “When COVID hit, we reinforced certain cleaning and disinfecting programs on the retail side to ensure everyone’s safety. With ice cream season upon us, we have enhanced safety protocols even more to allow us to serve our customers.”
The creamery has added several staff members inside and outside of the retail store, recognizable by their orange vests, to monitor social distancing guidelines and to direct customers as they enter and exit the store. A designated sanitation specialist is responsible for continuous cleaning of touched surfaces.
Since the retail store reopened in July, floor decals have helped customers to maintain a 6-foot distance between themselves and others standing in line. Plexiglass placed along the counter tops helps to provide a physical separation between staff and customers. And, of course, every person entering the store must wear a face covering.
“We advise all visitors to abide by these guidelines to ensure that everyone who visits the creamery is safe,” said Brown, who added that indoor and outdoor seating is not available at this time. “And, it goes without saying that if you are not feeling well, please do not come to the store. Instead, use our shipping department to fill your needs.”
More information about safety protocols and curbside pickup options can be found at https://creamery.psu.edu/retail-store-reopening-guidelines.
Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, the largest university creamery in the United States, produces ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt and sour cream, as well as a variety of other products, such as juices, lemonade and iced teas.
Cows from Penn State’s dairy herd provide milk for the creamery’s fresh dairy products, averaging about four days from cow to creamery treat. For more information, visit https://creamery.psu.edu.