To go on Perry’s production floor you have to wear long pants and close-toed shoes. You also have to wear personal protective equipment such as eye goggles, hair nets, lab coats and ear plugs. We started off in our 40-degree room or the dry warehouse where our ingredients are stored until they are taken out to the production floor. We take care when stacking different types of raw ingredients, to prevent any cross-contamination.
Each morning we receive fresh milk and cream from local farms, in our receiving dock. Samples of the daily dairy are taken into the lab to be tested for quality. Once the milk has been approved by the lab it is held in storage tanks before it goes to the kettles. Each kettle holds 600 gallons of ice cream mix and is basically used the same way as our great-great-grandfather Morton cooked it on his kitchen stove.
After achieving the creamy taste only slow-cooking can provide, the base mix is pumped into holding tanks where it is held until needed in one of our delicious flavors. It does not sit for long, we typically turn the fresh milk and cream into ice cream within 48 hours.
Next, it is pumped into flavor vats where different flavors are added to the base mix. It is then pumped through a continuous freezer where it is slightly frozen and all the “good stuff” is added. From there it is either filled into containers or novelty items such as fudgie bars and gets sent to the freezer. Each year Perry’s produces over 12 million gallons of ice cream.
We had the opportunity to spend time in our lab with Teresa, our Food Technologist. She helps develop flavors for Perry’s summer ice cream stand lines and any new flavors we would want to have available in grocery stores.
At Perry’s, we believe in a high quality product, as part of that we are working to eliminate artificial colors and flavors from our products, wherever possible. While this is a work in progress, it was fun to learn about the different ingredients that can be used as natural colors.
Specifically, we worked on the level of green in the lime sherbet. When we eliminated the artificial color from the product, we had received some complaints that we had changed the taste of it as well, when really nothing changed except the color, to white. We found a natural color alternative, so we were trying to identify the appropriate shade, to match the way it used to be.
We also looked at a naturally flavored cake base for some of our cake and cookie ice creams. We wanted to make sure we were still able to hit the right egg and butter notes with natural flavors and achieve the same color. We tasted several options for each and decided on the best versions.
On August 24th at 12:30pm, we will be having a live Twitter Chat with Perry’s 5th Generation! This is the time to ask us anything about Perry’s. Tweet @perrysicecream and hashtag #perrys5thgen to make sure we get your question! If you can’t hang out with us at this time, tweet your questions ahead of time to @perrysicecream.
We hope you can join us! We can’t wait to talk to you.