Kimberly Elam, owner of Kimmer’s Ice Cream and Shayla Ellis, Assistant Manager of the popular St. Charles Ice Cream shop are attending the 121st Penn State Ice Cream Short Course this week in University Park, PA. The oldest, best-known, and largest educational program dealing with the science and technology of ice cream, the short course is also believed to be the very first continuing education course in the United States.
“We’re really excited to spend this week enhancing our knowledge of ice cream manufacturing with knowledgeable instructors and students from some of the biggest ice cream companies in the world,” says Elam. “It’s a great way to prepare for our upcoming busy season, as we have added new equipment to boost capacity and will soon launch an e-commerce operation to satisfy our out-of-town fans.”
Beginning in 1892, The Pennsylvania State College School of Agriculture offered a class in dairy manufacturing during winter, “…when farm work is least pressing and the boys can best be spared.” By 1925, ice cream had become so popular that a separate course devoted exclusively to the subject was established. Today, the College of Agricultural Sciences still offers the course in January, which is normally the slowest time for the ice cream industry. Just about every major ice cream company in the world has a Penn State connection—someone on the staff who has attended the short course or who is a Penn State graduate.
The program instructs professionals in the nuances of commercial ice cream manufacture. In its history, the course has attracted more than 4,500 participants from every state in the nation and every continent except Antarctica. The student roster reads like a Who’s Who of ice cream. Representatives from mom-and-pop operations like Kimmer’s, as well as industry leaders, have traveled to University Park to learn the secrets of ice cream making.
Elam and Ellis will attend more than 20 presentations on specialized areas of ice cream technology including flavoring, refrigeration, freezing and hardening techniques, and the manufacture of novelty frozen desserts.
Kimmer’s, now entering its third year in downtown St. Charles, specializes in creating homemade classic and gourmet premium ice cream flavors, as well as ice cream cookie sandwiches, ice cream cakes and pies, and sundaes as well as homemade waffle cones, chocolate-dipped waffle bowls, pretzel cones and Kimmer’s original Sparkle Cone.™ Favorites include Parent Trap, Aztec Hot Chocolate, Cookie Monster, Shayla Mae’s Peanut Butter Truffle, Red Velvet Cake and Caramel Sea Salt.