After brunch, we were off to see them make everyone's favorite ice cream at the Blue Bell Creamery.
Things started out a little slowly back in 1911 when they made a maximum of two gallons per day.
We bought our tickets and then headed over to the ice cream parlor and gift store as we had a little while before the tour would start. They were in the midst of decorating for Christmas. You can see that Margarita had already donned her ice cream hat. l to r - Colleen, Margarita, Birdie, and Carolyn.
Darlene was busy checking out the goods in the gift store.
This painting in the hallway depicts important elements in the ice cream world.
We are going to have to make a big pictureless jump here as they wouldn't allow any photos in the plan during the tour. The guide said it wasn't because of any big secrets but some of their employees didn't like getting their pictures taken and they were just honoring their wishes. Yah, right, we buy that one. They use an average of milk from 50,000 cows each day to make the ice cream. Some of our former farm girls said that each cow averages 2 gallons of milk a day so that is at least 100,000 gallons of milk. They could tell us how many gallons of ice cream is produced a day as it varies a lot. The milk is stored in vats and moves through pipes to each step. Vanilla ice cream is their biggest seller followed by dutch chocolate and cookies and cream. They have a huge number of flavors but some of them are only around for a few months. Right now, Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream is the newest flavor but it is pretty hard to find. If you see it, you better grab it because it won't be around long and they can't keep up with the demand for it.
Have you heard the saying "we eat all we can and we sell the rest"? Well it is true. Employees can eat all the ice cream they want during their breaks and lunch and they say they don't get tired of it. Blue Bell buys all their milk from farmers within 200 miles of the creamery and they don't own any farms themselves. The Blue Bell cow lives on a farm in La Grange. The creamery operates from 8 to 4:30 and it takes about two hours at the end of the day to take apart, clean, and sterilize all the pipes and equipment. It takes about the same amount of time to put things back together to start production again in the morning.
At the end of the tour, we all got a nice big scoop of whatever ice cream we wanted to try in their ice cream parlor. Of course, they didn't have Pumpkin Spice! Then we headed outside and Carolyn and I got our pictures taken with the famous Blue Bell cow.
These are the three brothers that started Blue Bell.
This is an old fashioned Blue Bell truck.