I am a big fan of Ben and Jerry’s – mainly for the plebeian reason that it is delicious ice cream. I should probably be impressed by their commitment to community and environmental projects, but mainly, it’s that Phish Food that reels me in. We decided to stop by their factory in Vermont USA to see where it was founded, and get a sample 🙂
We watched a short video about the history of Ben and Jerry’s, including why their ice cream is special, and the projects they have supported through the decades. When we visited they were campaigning for fair voting rights for everyone. It is also worth mentioning that they have been taken over by Unilever, so they are no longer the romanticised one-man-band operation, but more in depth research would be needed to see if this has changed the essence of B & J or not..
We then had a factory tour, which was what we were looking forward to. The factory tour only runs during certain times of the year, and off-season you would watch a video instead of seeing the factory live. That was a big factor in when we visited, as we wanted to see it in action. You can check the dates of operation on their website. I was surprised how small the factory was, but there are 5 factories in total – 3 in the US and 1 in Holland for the European market, and I think they said 1 in Australia.
After the factory tour we all enjoyed a sample of ice cream, which was delicious and quite generous. We then hiked up the hill behind the factory looking for the flavour graveyard. This is a rather bizarre small graveyard with gravestones for each flavour which is no longer produced. It was dark when we got to it, so it was rather spooky!
I’d love to be able to say how beautiful Vermont was, as it’s meant to be all green rolling hills, much like the B&J design. However we drove much of it in the dark (typical – like when we drove Route 66 in the dark – what’s wrong with us?!).
- What we had not allowed for is the border crossing from Canada to the US. Luckily the queue wasn’t too long but their IT systems were down when we arrived, so we had to wait – luckily it wasn’t long but in that moment we had no idea if we’d be there 5 mins or all day! Allow plenty of time for border crossings.
- Entry is around $4 each, which includes a short video, tour of the factory, and a sample of 1 generous scoop of their latest flavour.
next blog: American Road Trip
previous blog: Montreal, Canada