Scoops & Smoothies: Local Dairy Farmers Offer Summer Delights

Scoops & Smoothies: Local Dairy Farmers Offer Summer Delights

By Mary Beth Schwartz

It is said President George Washington spent $200 on it during the summer of 1790. President Thomas Jefferson is said to have used it in a recipe for a chilly dessert resembling today’s Baked Alaska. In 1813, Dolley Madison served dished strawberry scoops at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet at the White House. In 1896, the first cone was produced in New York City by Italo Marchiony. In 1874, the country saw the emergence of the American soda fountain shop. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, with the third Sunday of the month (July 21) as National Ice Cream Day.

America’s love affair with ice cream continues in 2013, and here in the Lehigh Valley, there are some key homegrown spots to visit on the fun days of summer.

In business for 110 years, 38 in retail, Crystal Spring Farm in Schnecksville is a fourth-generation family dairy farm that offers the freshest milk and ice cream. “We are proud to be one of the few dairy farms that not only raises our own cattle, grows our own feed, but also bottles our own milk products and packages our own ice cream,” says Retail Manager Audrey Marsteller.

The Crystal Spring Farm retail store features farm fresh milk, butter, homegrown beef products, baked goods, and homemade ice cream. “Our ice cream is made from the milk and cream fresh from our dairy herd. In the summer we offer more than 30 flavors of dip ice cream, as well as soft serve in Vanilla, Chocolate, and twist. Year-round, we prepackage ice cream for people to take home in half gallons, quarts and pints. We also have homemade ice cream novelties including ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes and dixie cups,” says Marsteller.

“Our ice cream is the creamiest around. We use a high test butter fat. It is not ice milk. It is ice cream. The ice cream is hormone free, rBST free. My favorite flavor is Coconut Almond Joy, which is coconut cream ice cream with chocolate bark and almonds,” adds Marsteller. Vanilla is always the most popular. Other flavors include Chocolate Chip Mint, French Vanilla, Chocolate Walnut, Cherry Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Butter Brickle, Rocky Road, Creamsicle, Cookie Dough, Teaberry, Cheesecake, Oreo Vanilla, Blue Moon, and Cow Prints, the Dairy’s version of Moose Tracks.

Marsteller’s father, President Hubert Sell, has been in charge of making the ice cream for over 30 years. Sell mastered ice cream making through trial and error, courses at Penn State University, and his management experience in dairy plant processing. “When I make the mix, the cream that comes from the cow came the same day. Same as the milk made in the product. We feel that you are not going to get fresher than that,” Sell says.

Every year, Crystal Springs makes more than 10,000 gallons of ice cream that is hand dipped and sold in small containers. Every month the flavors are tested in a lab, along with the Dairy’s milk. “The water we use around the products for cleaning and sanitizing also has to be tested in a lab; there is a lot of testing done to make sure we have a safe product,” Sell says.

So how is it made so fresh? “We do 100 gallons of mix at a time. That makes 150 – 175 gallons of ice cream. We start with whole milk, which is tapped right in from our system. Then we add the cream to whip it up and give the good mouth feel. We then add sugars. We use a skim powder to give the body and smoothness. Then we add the flavoring, stabilizers and emulsifiers. These ingredients are agitated and blended in a 300-gallon mixing tank for batch pasteurization. The mixture is heated to a temperature of 160 degrees. It is then homogenized so that the ingredients stay in suspension. We then have to chill it. It is taken from 160 to 40 degrees within 60 seconds. Then it is packaged for freezing, flavoring and bulk ingredients,” Sell says.

Delicious Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


• 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 3 cups half-and-half
• 2 cups sugar
• 8 whole (up to 9) large egg yolks
• 3 cups heavy cream


• Heat half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over low heat, adding vanilla “caviar” to the mixture. (You can also drop in the scraped vanilla bean, just to extract all the flavor. Make sure to discard the bean before moving to the next step.)

• Turn off heat when mixture is totally heated.

• Beat egg yolks by hand or with an electric mixer until yolks are pale yellow and slightly thick.

• Temper the egg yolks by slowly drizzling into the 1 1/2 cups of hot half-and-half mixture, whisking constantly.

• Pour the egg yolk/half-and-half mixture into the pan containing the rest of the half-and-half mixture.

• Cook over low to medium-low heat (depending on how hot your stove gets) until quite thick, stirring constantly.

• Drain custard using a fine mesh strainer, then pour into a bowl with the heavy cream.

• Stir to combine.

• Chill mixture completely, then freeze in an ice cream maker until thick.

• Place container in freezer to harden for at least eight hours.

• Serve with something chocolate. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman of Food Network:

At Klein Farms Dairy & Creamery in Easton, customers come for baked goods, fresh brown eggs, vegetables, homegrown beef, natural raw milk and a gamut of cheeses-Mozzarella, Ricotta, cheese spreads, cheese rolls, Cheddar, Gouda, Colby, Jack, Blue, Parmesan, and Romano. But when they want something sweet and creamy, they reach for the farm’s homemade fresh yogurt and SMOOgurt.

“We make our own yogurt with our own milk. We pasteurize and cool the milk. It is done at night after the night milking. Then we add the cultures to the milk once it is below 120 degrees. Over 120 degrees will kill the yogurt culture. It incubates all night. In the morning we have gallons of yogurt that we pack and freeze. We make separate batches with a different culture of less strength to make the drinkable SMOOgurt which we have year round. There are seven flavors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Vanilla Maple, Peach, Pineapple Orange, Coffee and Banana. Honey or maple syrup is used for sweetening. Chocolate is the only flavor that has sugar,” says Layne Klein, Owner/Operator.

Third-generation Klein Farms has been in operation for 77 years. During those years, the farm has evolved to meet the changing times of agriculture. The next venture for Klein Farms is coming in the spring of 2014. “We will be putting the details together this summer and fall, and by next spring, we will be offering homemade ice cream and frozen
yogurt,” Klein says.

Other dairy farms join Klein Farms and Crystal Spring Farm in celebrating the bounty of the Lehigh Valley. At Keepsake Farm & Dairy in Nazareth, they are known for their certified raw milk, as well as free range brown eggs, Rose Veal, and pasture-raised beef. And at Coopersburg’s Flint Hill Farm Educational Center, the farm store offers pasteurized eggs, fresh cream butter, pasteurized yogurt, certified raw milk, and goat and cow milk artisan cheeses.

Go out and enjoy a summer day at one of the Lehigh Valley’s dairy farms. Take the time to thank the farmer, his family, and the animals while you are there.

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