Ice Cream

Ice Cream

My (John’s) family has always enjoyed ice cream. I know this is not really a whole lot different from most families, but I mean ENJOY. One of my earliest memories involves the Jamaican migrant laborers coming to the back porch (it was an enclosed porch just off the kitchen) to buy ice cream. These men worked for my grandfather seasonally cutting asparagus, picking tomatoes, peppers and so on. I remember they were Jamaicans because they had strange British-type accents which was very different from any black men I had ever heard.

My father had a small ice cream churn that would make a couple of gallons at a time and he would bring over cream he didn’t need for his milk routes from the milk house and make ice cream. It was usually fruit flavored for the fruits in season or vanilla and chocolate. And, the Jamaicans didn’t get it all. Since my father had no way to store it on the milk truck, we had the remains to ourselves!

By the early 1950’s, he was no longer making it to sell due to no customers (the Jamaicans had been replaced by Puerto Ricans and he needed the cream to make butter for his route customers), but occasionally he would bring out the churn and we would have a special treat. Generally though, we bought ice cream at Draybold’s store when we could.

In the early 1960’s, my father could no longer process the milk himself and be profitable. One of the problems was that my uncles at times could not produce enough or they would have too much and we would have to find some use for the left over. Since customers will not buy milk that is a week old and there is just so much butter and cottage cheese he could use, this was a real problem. Another problem was the cost of labor (see “Dad Dumps John” for more details) and maintenance of the milk house (all of the equipment was aging). State inspections were more rigorous and our building was old as well.

His solution was to continue to deliver milk, but no longer process the raw product. Since this would impact his two brothers, who sold him the raw milk, dad arranged a deal with Martin Century Farms, a large farm cooperative. They would buy the milk from my uncles (unfortunately, cooling tanks had to be installed on each farm - but that’s another matter) and the Co-op would sell my father whatever he needed at a lower than wholesale price.

This meant that all of my uncles’ milk would be bought by the Co-op and that my father only needed to order just what he needed to deliver. (This process was called Bob-Tailing - though I have no idea why).

Getting back to ice cream, these guys could also deliver ice cream to us for resale on our routes. So, and ice cream freezer was installed in our basement and a cooler that kept the ice cream frozen all day was installed on the milk truck. (It was plugged in each night and the isolation was so good that by midday, the ice cream was still rock hard).

For us kids, there were two blessings that came out of this, first, the company also had popsicles! and secondly, since our dad probably loved ice cream more than anyone I have ever met (except Brother Harrol - our pastor in Aubrey for many years), we had a ready made dessert for many nights.

As a conclusion, let me relate a typical dessert (by the way, my mother was not much of a baker, so ice cream meant less pressure for her too!)  After we had finished eating, dad would announce ; “Well, what flavor tonight?”. Once that was settled, one of us would be designated to retrieve the chosen flavor. In these days, the container was a rectangular prism ( as seen in photo) Dad would then open the container so all the sides were open and using a large butcher knife, first slice the brick in half longways and then into thirds widthwise.This meant six bricks of ice cream of equal size; one for each of us (there were four kids!!).

My father used to say that ice cream was nature’s most balanced food. Of course, we all believed him and still do to this day!!

Davdan @ 2008-2018