Emily Buckley, editor in chief
Happy Birthday, Aggie Ice Cream! January 21, 2022 marked the 100-year anniversary of the quintessential Cache Valley treat, and Utah State University (USU) is celebrating all year!
Aggie Ice Cream is a part of Cache Valley and USU history that stretches back to the University’s Utah Agricultural College (UAC) roots.
In 1920, Professor Gustav Wilster arrived on campus and would forever transform the college creamery as well as the ice cream business in Utah. Professor Wilster, known as the father of Aggie Ice Cream, previously taught at the Queensland Agricultural College in Australia before moving to the United States. He then taught at Iowa State University before coming to Utah to revitalize the UAC’s curriculum in the Department of Dairying after setbacks that were caused by the 1919 influenza pandemic.
Although the college dairy had made milk available on campus for decades, including an all-you-can-drink supply of free buttermilk at the entrance to the Animal Industries Building to feed many hungry students, Professor Wilster came to teach dairy food processing, and that included making ice cream. Using newly purchased machinery and a passion for teaching, Professor Wilster reopened the doors of the Aggie Creamery in January 1921 with a new focus on selling student-made ice cream to the public and student body alike.
Historical photos provided by Utah State University.
Student Life, the school’s newspaper that preceded the current Utah Statesman, chronicled the event: “The Dairy Department under the direction of Professor Gustav Wilster is now making lacto ice cream, which has never before been produced in Utah, the formula for which he brought from Iowa. It is a frozen ice cream made from pasteurized milk that has been ripened with pure culture and then had sugar and flavoring added. This new product is meeting with great favor locally.”
Professor Wilster and his students put their skills to the test when 2,500 people camped on the campus Quad for the annual UAC Farmer’s Encampment and enjoyed Aggie Creamery ice cream, milk, and cheese.
Several of Professor Wilster’s students went on to found iconic ice cream businesses across Utah, including Casper Merrill who opened Casper’s Ice Cream and invented the Fat Boy Ice Cream Sandwich and Asael Farr who founded Farr Better Ice Cream in Ogden.
The Aggie Creamery has moved around campus over the decades from its original spot in the basement of Old Main, to a small building on the Quad, and later to the Animal Industry Building. The Aggie Creamery is now in the C. Anthon Ernstrom Nutrition and Food Sciences Building on the corner of 750 North and 1200 East in Logan.
The Aggie Creamery production and store both underwent renovations in 2018, with the addition of a Soda Shoppe.
As a testament to Aggie Ice Cream’s quality, the Creamery was awarded the Best Ice Cream in the Cache Valley Family Magazine’s Best of Cache Valley Awards in 2021 and Best of State: Ice Cream in 2021, an honor previously awarded in 2016. Aggie Ice Cream was also voted Logan’s best ice cream in 2017 by a Logan City poll and Utah’s best ice cream in 2016 by KSL. In 2017, Deseret News readers voted Aggie Ice Cream as the best over the BYU Creamery.
Aggie Ice Cream store manager, Bridgett Liberty attributes Aggie Ice Cream’s longevity to the quality of the milk produced by the USU Caine Dairy, a commitment to traditional methods, and community support.
This support is not only local, though. It extends around the region, and sometimes around the globe. Bridgett said that since online purchasing became available in 2020, Aggie Ice Cream has been shipped to as far as Switzerland, over 5,000 miles away.
“For a century now, Cache Valley residents and USU students, faculty, and alumni have made Aggie Ice Cream a part of their personal and family traditions,” Bridgett said. “Countless milestones and events have been celebrated with Aggie Ice Cream, and now you can enjoy the treat while celebrating its centennial milestone.”
The Carroll Family enjoying some Aggie Ice Cream.
Bridgett emphasized that the centennial celebrations will focus on giving back to the community. “Aggie Ice Cream wouldn’t be what it is without support from the community and customers who visit faithfully,” she said.
To be certain you don’t miss the chance to try some new flavors, or enjoy some favorite flavors from the past that will be brought back during the Aggie Ice Cream Centennial celebration, follow @AggieIceCream on Facebook and Instagram.
Aggie Ice Cream Quick Facts:
• The Aggie Creamery produces about 50,000 gallons of ice cream every year.
• Aggie Blue Mint is by far the most popular flavor, by at least 20%. Aggie Bull Tracks, Vanilla, and True Aggie Night are the next three favorite flavors.
• The Aggie Creamery currently produces and serves 31 flavors.
• May’s flavor of the month is S’More Aggie (toasted marshmallow-flavored ice cream with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate pieces, and chocolate swirl). Stop in or follow @AggieIceCream on Instagram or Facebook to learn about special monthly flavors throughout 2022 for the centennial celebration.
• June 21 has been officially declared Aggie Ice Cream Day in Utah! Watch their social media for details about a celebration that will include activities for kids, discounts on ice cream, and prizes.