For more than 100 years, Cal Poly students have been manufacturing dairy products at the Cal Poly Creamery. With some new additions, the Creamery was able to ramp up production of ice cream and serve it in an innovative way; a drive thru.
“We use 16% fat. If you’re going to eat ice cream, use the real stuff,” said Craig Russell, the operations manager for the Cal Poly Dairy and Creamery.
From noon to 4 p.m. every Friday, you can drive to the Cal Poly campus and pick up ice cream and a variety of cheese from the drive thru. Every week, employees at the Cal Poly Creamery head to the Cal Poly Dairy, pick up the milk, pasteurize it, and produce it into cheese or ice cream mix; all that done by students.
“It’s a student-run creamery. It’s Cal Poly milk. They develop the flavors,” said Russell. “It’s a really great program here.”
“The learn by doing aspect is just phenomenal. I didn’t know I wanted to get into food production, and then I started working here,” said Cassidy Cooper, the Cal Poly Creamery assistant manager and a recent Cal Poly graduate. “Just being able to produce all of these dairy products, it’s made me realize that this is what I want to do.”
Cooper says she started working at the creamery when she was a junior at Cal Poly. With a new ice cream machine pumping out nearly 10 times what the creamery could produce before, the organization needed to find a way to move the product.
“With COVID-19, we wanted to have a safe way for our students and our public to get our ice cream,” said Russell. “It’s really, really boosted the Cal Poly Creamery sales. The Cal Poly Creamery is run like a business, so profitability is important to us.”
Just a month and a half in, business is booming; since the inception of the drive thru, Cooper says sales have nearly quadrupled.
The creamery wants the drive thru to be somewhat of a getaway for those who want a tasty treat.
“It’s cute. It’s turned into a little tradition for some families. They’ll take their kids after Zoom meetings. I think a lot of people look forward to it each week.”
The Cal Poly Creamery is offering holiday gift boxes that keep on giving; you can buy a gift box that will be given to a Cal Poly student in need.