Decade spent supervising campus creamery


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Eric Needham, Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe food supervisor, says huckleberry ice cream is the most popular.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name, age: Eric Needham, 60

Occupation: Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe food supervisor for 12 years

How did you start working at Ferdinand’s?
“I worked at Dissmore’s for 30 years. I moved up here and worked at dining centers for a few years, and then came here.”

What is it like working here?
“This is a fun place to work because we sell very high-quality products and people are happy when they come through the door. It’s ice cream and cheese made here on campus, so it’s a very happy place.”

Any interesting stories?
“Mom’s Weekend, when there’s people lined out the door. Not that it’s fun having lines out the door, but it’s a fun time. Football games [on] Saturdays, it’s fun to be here watching the crowds.”

What can you tell me about some of the most popular products?
“Cougar Gold is about 74-75 percent of our sales of cheese. For ice cream, huckleberry is now our number one seller. Interestingly enough, it used to be vanilla for parties. People would pick up the three-gallon tubs for parties. But out of the case, huckleberry overtook vanilla.”

What can you tell me about the students that are employed?
“In production we have 35 students, and we prefer to have food science students. Food science is now with the University of Idaho, so we have UI students and WSU students.”

Tell me about the customers you get in. Are they more students, faculty or families?
“During the summer, a lot of students for ice cream. During this time of year, before Christmas, a lot of alumni and cheese.”

Is that because they are buying Christmas presents?
“A lot of Christmas presents, yes. The shipping has taken off, and we ship more cans of cheese than anything else.”

How much cheese do you ship?
“I would bet 60 percent of our cheese is shipped.

What is your favorite thing about working here?
“What is unique about this is we milk cows [at] WSU, we buy all their milk, and we make great products out of it.”

Reporting by Rachel Sun