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Here’s the Scoop: It’s National Ice Cream Month

Above: ice cream comes in many delicious flavors. (No brand endorsement is implied or intended). 

During hot July, an ice cream treat really hits the spot.

Did you know that in 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day? For 2023, National Ice Cream Day is Sunday, July 16. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

You may be reading this a day or two after the day of celebration, but we’re still within the month. So, it’s high time you helped yourself to some delicious ice cream! And, how better to get that ice cream than at the 2023 Whitley County 4-H Fair. Come on down and choose one of the delicious flavors available. Alternatively, you may have a favorite local ice cream shop you like to patronize.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, in 2022, ice cream makers in the U.S. churned out 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream. They also said that the average American eats roughly 20 pounds of ice cream each year, or about 4 gallons. I don’t know if you’re ahead of or behind the curve, but many Hoosiers love ice cream.

While we’re on the subject of dairy products, let’s also talk about a familiar tradition with milk in Indiana.

According to the American Dairy Association of Indiana, “Winners Drink Milk” is considered one of the most beloved phrases and traditions in Indiana and all of sports. They explain more on their website.

“The tradition started at the Indianapolis 500 by driver Louis Meyer simply requesting buttermilk to quench his thirst after the 1936 race,” they said. “The Drink of Milk has since evolved from a thirst-satisfying beverage to a ceremonial hand-off with an Indiana dairy farmer giving the iconic, glass bottle of milk to the winner with over 250,000 people watching in-person and more worldwide.”

Each year, two Indiana dairy farmers carry out the “Winners Drink Milk” tradition in the Victory Circle of the Indianapolis 500. “The dairy farmers represent their colleagues’ hard and dedicated work to bring the nutritious drink to so many,” they said. “A ‘Rookie’ is selected each year, who spends the first year ‘training,’ and delivers bottles of milk to the winning Chief Mechanic and the winning Team Owner.” The following year the Rookie becomes the official Milk Person and is given the honor of handing the ice-cold bottle of milk to the winning driver of the Indy 500.

“The drivers are asked for their milk preferences before the race: fat-free, 2%, or whole milk. Whole milk is the most popular choice by the drivers,” they said.

The next time you enjoy a cold glass of milk or a bowl of your favorite ice cream, think about a local dairy farmer.
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