The Dairy Store: an essential piece of the MIPA experience

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MSU graduate Leah Ferguson prepares a cone of ‘Sesquicentennial Swirl’ at the Dairy Store. Ferguson graduated this past spring.

Walk into the dairy store on Farm Lane and you are greeted by tantalizing smells and a friendly staff.

Offering a refreshing treat on hot days, the store has always been a hit with MIPA campers.

“Last year I passed it a million times, and my friends always told me about it,” said Asia Davis from Loy Norrix High School, “but it was a long walk from Snyder so I never went until this year.”

Davis said she is an avid ice cream eater.

“Ice cream is my favorite food; I’ll eat it in the dead (of) winter, I’ll eat it in 103 degrees,” Davis said. “I would suggest every MIPA camper check it out. Even if you are lactose intolerant, they have sherbet.”

All of the original Big Ten schools are represented with their own ice cream flavors at the store, said Leah Ferguson, an employee and 2013 Michigan State University (MSU) graduate.

“It’s especially fun when other schools come in for football games,” Ferguson said. “Visiting students always order their teams’ flavor.”

MIPA director Jeremy Steele, who has gone to the store since he attended MIPA in high school, said he’s still a fan.

“Who isn’t? As long as MIPA has existed, campers have been going to the Dairy Store,” Steele said.
Although his favorite flavor changes regularly, Steele said he was pleasantly surprised by his most recent combination, Illini Orange Crush with a scoop of chocolate.

“There is not a bad ice cream,” Steele said. “That is one thing you know you are getting with a land-grant college, a large agricultural presence and fresh products that accompany it.”

MSU students make the ice cream in the dairy plant, which campers can visit if they have a desire to do so, Ferguson said. Also, the dairy comes from the on-campus dairy farm.

The prices are relatively inexpensive with a small at $2 and a large at $3.70, she said.

“Our most popular flavor is ‘Sesquicentennial Swirl,’ which is cake batter swirled with green frosting,” Ferguson said. “The cake is (Michigan) State’s 150th birthday cake.”

Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on the weekends. There is another store in the MSU Union Building that opens at noon every day, closing at 8 p.m. during the week and 6 p.m. on the weekends.

In addition to ice cream, the store sells grilled cheeses with cheese from the dairy farm and bread from the bakery, Ferguson said.

To any campers yet to experience the Dairy Store phenomenon, Steele suggests to be patient when you get there, because with ice cream that good you know there will be a line.

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