THE ICE CREAM COW COMETH
“What’s all the mooing about?” asks Belle, milk cow mascot of Blue Bell Creamery, the ice cream manufacturer with its main production facility in Brenham, Texas. Established in 1907 by a dairy-farmers’ cooperative who called themselves the Brenham Creamery Company, Blue Bell has risen in the ranks of ice cream aficionados for their adherence to old fashioned flavor and undiluted processes. Butter served as the creamery’s first product, made from the abundant supply of cream courtesy of the surrounding milk cow country, before innovative heads prevailed with ice cream production in 1911. The co-op changed its name to Blue Bell in the 1930s, a reference to Eustoma grandiflorum, better known as the Texas Bluebell, a dramatic wildflower that covered the region’s rolling pastures every spring. The company’s original operation was housed in a converted cotton gin and the modified complex survives today alongside its modern facilities. The historic complex incorporates several of the original cotton gin structures from the late 19th century and its additions, constructed in the 1930s in the distinct Arte Moderne style. The curving lines and multiple glass blocks give the attractive structure its Moderne accents. The historic complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
But enough about history; what about the ice cream? The Brenham facility (one of several in the nation today for this ice cream manufacturing giant) hosts tours on weekdays between 8:30 am and 3 p.m. A serving of ice cream is included in the tour. Want to hear more about the Creamery? Belle can fill you in. She has her own blog.