WSU Dairy Club hopes spotlight brings in new members

MAIA GABRIEL | Evergreen managing editor

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With a Ferdinand’s flavor in the running for the national title of best university-made ice cream, the WSU Dairy Club hopes more recognition will result in more members.

The flavor – called Apple Cup Crisp in celebration of WSU’s annual football game against UW – has progressed to the second and final round of Progressive Dairyman magazine’s 2014 Flavor Faceoff. It beat a flavor from BYU in voter popularity to represent the western region of the U.S.

“WSU fans are the greatest fans in the world, and they do whatever they can to support,” WSU Creamery Manager Russ Salvadalena said. “And if that means going online to support us, they are willing to do that.”

Apple Cup Crisp was born out of a competition that Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe hosted about 13 years ago, Salvadalena said. Customers were asked to suggest new flavors, and the winning idea became the frozen concoction of vanilla ice cream, apple flavoring, caramel and oatmeal cookie chunks.

“(WSU) has a good chance of taking it all,” said Emily Caldwell, a Progressive Dairyman editor. “They have a very nice, active alumni support and quite a few people pulling for them.”

Representing the other three regions are flavors from the dairy clubs at Cornell University, the University of Maryland and Michigan State University.

“There are a lot of university milk-processing plants producing a lot of good ice cream,” Dairy Club adviser Larry Fox said. “The competition will be stiff.”

The winning dairy club will be featured in the Sept. 12 issue of the magazine. The spread will include a photo collage of the club and its champion flavor.

“We do take pride in Ferdinand’s ice cream as well as it being made from the milk at the Knott Dairy center,” Dairy Club President Jennifer Callanan said, noting that she and Fox have been urging people to vote for Apple Cup Crisp.

WSU’s Knott Dairy is a fully functional dairy and research laboratory located on the southeast outskirts of Pullman. Students who work there participate directly in the Ferdinand’s operation.

“I would love to get more people involved in the Dairy Club because it makes it so much more fun when you’ve got a lot of people,” she said. “We’re just trying to get the dairy industry known and show everybody that dairy is important in our lives.”

Callanan said the number of students in the club has decreased as few are involved in animal sciences. She said winning the competition would help popularize both the club and Ferdinand’s.

The club focuses heavily on educating its members about dairy products, Callanan said. One member who returned from an internship in Peru taught other members Spanish dairy terms.

The club’s most popular event is the annual Cougar Youth Weekend in which members teach youth from 4-H and Future Farmers of America how to judge and manage dairy cattle – from reproduction and animal health to the quality of the milk.

“It’s a great event to get younger kids connected with WSU and the WSU (agriculture) program,” Callanan said.

The deadline to vote in the Flavor Faceoff is July 10, and the winning flavor will be announced on July 14. Votes can be entered on the Progressive Dairyman website: bit.ly/1oKBJtG.