Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb013

Made from the milk of UConn cows, UConn Dairy Bar ice cream is an experience not to be missed. Producing 24 flavors as varied as Strawberry Cheesecake and Coffee Espresso Crunch, the iconic dairy bar was selected as a 2013 Best of New England Editor’s Choice by Yankee Magazine and as the maker of the best ice cream in the state by Connecticut Magazine.

Located in rural, picturesque Storrs, the University of Connecticut began as an agricultural college. Those origins are never more apparent than during a visit to the dairy bar on Horsebarn Hill – a campus gem that began as a teaching and research facility in the early 1900’s. It remains part of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.021015014

According to a history of the dairy bar on their web page, it was circa 1953-54 that the teaching creamery was turned into a retail dairy bar opened to the public. Decorated in the popular dairy bar design of that era complete with an ice cream counter and low stools, it was originally situated just steps away from its current locale. The new space, however, is sleeker looking and has small tables inside.016

Between 90 to 100 cows are milked three times a day and produce “an average pick up” of 200 gallons according to the university. No growth hormones are given to UConn dairy cows. Ice cream and cheese is made at the Kellogg Dairy Center – the dairy bar does offer a no sugar added, fat free option which is not UConn made (something the university might want to work on).

Visitors can watch the ice cream being made on site most days – there are a few special event exceptions when the dairy bar remains open but the milk churning is put on hold.

UConn milk bottles over the years.

UConn milk bottles over the years.

Field trips to UConn can be arranged at least seven days in advance to include a stop at the dairy bar. Just inside the breezeway is a display case filled with UConn milk bottles from over the years and the nearby animal barns are also open for public touring. UConn milk is not sold but the dairy bar does also have a couple freezers of eggs and cheese products and pre-packaged ice cream sundaes for sale.

I want to reiterate a previous suggestion I made that UConn Dairy Bar ice cream become an annual offering at the Connecticut Building on the Avenue of States at the Eastern States Exposition.

Without a doubt, the UConn Dairy Bar is both an educational and yummy destination.

3636 Horsebarn Hill Road; 860-486-2634. Open Sun-Thur 11 a.m. -7 p.m.; Fri and Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Closed some holidays.