Archive for the ‘Ask Ernie’ Category


Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

DORIS L. ASKS:  “How many strawberries go into one gallon of Strawberry Ice Cream?”

ernieheadshot3.jpgGreat question, Doris! I’ll try to answer it, but I don’t think I’ll be able to provide an exact number. 

We use 30 pound (3 gallon) containers of strawberries when we produce our ice cream.  The strawberries are placed into a feeder and are then fed into the ice cream mix during production. There’s a bit of variation in the process, so I would imagine there’s not a precise amount of strawberries that make their way into each and every container (but every container has plenty!).  

While I can’t share the exact formula for Turkey Hill Strawberries & Cream (the competition would love to know!), I can tell you this: nearly 25 % of the product is directly related to the flavor. We use fresh strawberries which are cleaned, hulled, halved, and sugared just prior to being packaged and frozen for use at a later date.

The berries are kept frozen and thawed right before they are placed in the ice cream. This process allows us to separate the juice from the berry. The juice is used as the flavoring agent and the remaining berries are added to the ice cream after the ice cream is partially frozen, just prior to packaging.

Hope this helps and thanks for your question!


Monday, August 20th, 2007

Dennis F. from Maryland writes:

Why do you not offer more Fat Free/Sugar Free ice cream?  My wife and I think the taste is fine and much better for health. Thanks!

ernieheadshot31.jpgI’m with you on that one Dennis. I’ve always been an advocate for expanding our Light Recipe and Fat Free/No Sugar Added line-ups and over the years we’ve added lots of new varieties. Of course, it’s not all because of my efforts. Public demand and acceptance for low fat varieties have played a role in our decision to add new light flavors.

It’s not fat free or no sugar added, but have you tried our Light Recipe Extreme Cookies ‘N Cream yet? A lot of people are probably tired of hearing me talk about it. It’s one of my favorites right now.

If it’s fat free you’re looking for, I would suggest our Fat Free Frozen Yogurt flavors such as Neapolitan, Chocolate Cherry Cordial, Chocolate Marshmallow, and Fudge Ripple.  These flavors also offer an “Excellent Source of Calcium,” “Active Yogurt Cultures,” and, of course, are fat free. But I’m getting side tracked…

You might have noticed I called our one line “No Sugar Added” and not “Sugar Free”.  This is a small difference, but an important one. Our No Sugar Added flavors contain a small amount of sugar from the lactose in the milk used to make the ice cream (however, no sugar is added). Lactose occurs naturally in milk and provides that slightly sweet taste. Now back to your original question.

The demand for fat free and sugar free flavors hasn’t been as high as our low fat flavors, but we have seen a boost in interest over the years. We’ve slowly increased our fat free (FF) and No Sugar Added (NSA) selection to include flavors like Cherry Fudge Ripple (FF/NSA), Dutch Chocolate (FF/NSA), Vanilla Bean (FF/NSA) and Peanut Brittle (NSA).

I’ll pass your suggestion along to our flavor development team. Trust me, they’re used to hearing me ask for new low fat and fat free flavors.

Thanks for your question!


Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Jean from Ohio asks:

Ernie, how long have you been on that job and how much weight have you gained? If you haven’t gained any weight, what’s your secret?

ernieheadshot33.jpgThanks for your question, Jean. I started in the “Dairy Business” at 18 months of age, delivering an empty milk bucket to my dad for him to fill after he was finished milking the cows. I’ve been here at Turkey Hill for the last 14 years and actually over the past year I’ve been able to lose more than 40 pounds.

Eating sensibly with portion control and exercising regularly are the driving forces behind my fitness plan. But I still make room for ice cream by treating it as a reward to myself. Yes, you can literally have your Turkey Hill Ice Cream and eat it too!


P.S. – I just noticed that this month’s poll crossed the 4,000 vote mark this weekend. That’s a lot of votes! I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading the Ice Cream Journal and leaving comments throughout the month. It’s fun to hear from so many different people and even though we can’t respond to all of your comments personally, we do read and appreciate all of them.


Friday, July 6th, 2007

Roger M. from Norristown, Pennsylvania writes:

Dear Ernie – What’s the difference between “ice cream” and “ice milk”?

ernieheadshot3.jpgThanks for your question, Roger. The term “ice milk” used to refer to any light or reduced fat ice cream. Today it’s no longer used, unless you’re referring to a glass of milk which contains ice cubes or a container of milk which has been allowed to freeze. 

Believe it or not, up until the 1980’s if the butter fat content of the product was less than 6 percent, the product had to be called “ice milk” while its full-fat cousin retained the title of “ice cream.” Needless to say, with a name like “ice milk” it wasn’t a big seller no matter how hard our marketing team tried.  During the 80’s, the ice cream industry was successful in petitioning the Federal Government to drop this nomenclature. We now use names such as reduced fat ice cream, light ice cream, low-fat ice cream, and non-fat ice cream. Lots of choices for everyone, and now a much better seller as a result of the name change.

I’m off for a bowl right now!


Friday, November 17th, 2006

You may have noticed our ice cream expert, Ernie, has been taking questions about some of the technical aspects of the ice cream process via the link in the right hand column of this blog. He's been in the dairy industry for over 40 years, and grew up on a dairy farm in New York State, so ask away. A couple times each month, your questions will be answered by Ernie on this blog. Here's one to get us started.

JC from Evans City, PA (favorite flavor: “Jana's Sticky Bun”) writes:

Where does all the cream that you use in your ice cream come from?

Thanks for your question, JC. All of our milk and most of our cream comes from local sources, but during the summer, when Lancaster County cows are producing less milk, some of the cream is delivered via 50,000 lb. tanker trucks that may come from as far away as California.

The cream is loaded at near freezing temperature into a well insulated, giant thermos-like tank and two drivers make the trip across the country to Turkey Hill. When the trucks arrive at our plant, the cream is tested and the temperature is taken to make sure it's still at refrigerator-like temperatures. Within hours it is being incorporated into ice cream.

Hope this helps!