PULLMAN, Wash. – Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe at Washington State University will commemorate its 60th anniversary on Wednesday, Sept. 24, with a ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m. and promotions throughout the day. All events are open to the public.
WSU President Elson S. Floyd; Dan Bernardo, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences; Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson; and Russ Salvadalena, manager of the creamery, are scheduled to participate in the ceremony.
Ice cream cones will be sold for 60 cents from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Balloons will be given away to kids of all ages from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Door prizes will be given to the first 100 customers, and a special prize will be awarded to the customer who buys the 60th can of Cougar Gold cheese sold that day.
Special cans of Cougar Gold aged three years, two years longer than usual, will be available for purchase, as will a special batch of Cracked Pepper and Chive cheese, not offered for many years, according to Salvadalena.
Border 104 KHTR has scheduled a remote radio broadcast from Ferdinand’s from noon to 2 p.m. Butch, WSU’s Cougar mascot, will help unveil two new ice cream flavors at noon.
Ferdinand’s was the byproduct of a decision by Washington State College to take over management of the Troy Hall Creamery, which had been operated by the Milk House, a private dairy company, since 1926. The contractor had processed milk from the college’s dairy herd and supplied milk products to college dining halls. The Milk House sold some dairy products at a retail outlet in downtown Pullman.
Ferdinand’s became the campus retail outlet for the WSC-managed Creamery. In the beginning, Ferdinand’s offered milk and three flavors of ice cream. It is not clear if cheese was on the menu. The first week, Ferdinand’s took in a total of $9.42, according to the receipts that have been preserved to this day.
From those humble beginnings, the Creamery and Ferdinand’s have flourished. Last year the self-sustaining operation generated about $4.5 million in sales of cheese, ice cream, and coffee, according to Russ Salvadalena, who has served as creamery manager since 2000.
The Creamery and Ferdinand’s moved from Troy Hall to the Food Quality Building in 1992. The plant size doubled, and the new facility provided seating for customers.
Income generated by sales pays the salaries of 11 full-time employees, about four dozen part-time student workers, and supports one faculty member position and two or more graduate students in WSU’s food science department.
That’s part of the Creamery’s mission, according to Salvadalena. “Our mission,” he said, “is to provide teaching and research opportunities to the university and the dairy industry, an exceptional work experience to student employees, and financial support to students and the university. We have provided training and employment for more than 1,000 WSU students since we opened 60 years ago.”
Click here to listen to a 4 minute, 4MB mp3 on the anniversary celebration and the history of the famous ice cream and Cougar Gold Cheese.