“I’ve always wanted to do that, and you’ve never taken me!”
Guys, how many times have you heard that one? With Lori’s gauntlet thrown down, we were headed to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont. It’s not that I never wanted to go: it’s more that every one of the dozen-ish times we’ve been to Vermont, we had paid a couple of thousand dollars to get to Killington, to stay at (or near) Killington, and to ski down Killington. When you pay for a ski vacation, you..well…ski. Touring an ice cream factory, as quirky-fun as it might wind up being, was never high on the list.
Of course this time our perspective on travel has changed (since we’re doing it all the time, not just in bursts of expensive vacations). Traveling more “slowly” meant not only that we had 6 days to enjoy in Vermont, but that we’d have days we could devote to something other than skiing (and had we tried to ski for all 6 days, we would have keeled over dead around 2pm on day 4). Stopping in at Ben & Jerry’s was one of the hilites of how we spent that extra “slow travel” time.
Everyone knows that Ben & Jerry’s makes really great ice cream. And most everyone knows a bit of the history of Ben & Jerry’s, namely that two guys sent off for a correspondence course to learn how to make ice cream and from that built an empire. Unlike some of my blogs, I won’t belabor you with the history of the company, but I will point out that, from the beginning, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield infused the company with a sense of social responsibility balanced with a for-profit mission. It was just the sort of thing you’d expect from a couple of hippies in the 70’s, and it was just the sort of thing most people would have pegged as a certain failure. But here we are, nearly 40 years later, still eating their quirky flavors, still thinking “hey, that’s great” at their social mission, and still writing case studies on them for MBA programs around the world.
The factory tour is $5 and lasts only about an hour, but it’s great fun and you get free ice cream. The factory, or at least the part you get to tour, is surprisingly small. After an amusing introduction film, the majority of the tour takes place from a single room perched above the production facility. Signs indicate zones and your guide explains the batch production process from start to finish. He (or she) will invite questions at each step, and they likely won’t get stumped by anything you ask. From the production area, you move on to the best part of the tour, the tasting room.
Unless you are on some sort of nationwide ice cream factory tour (we’ve heard of weirder), you’re not likely to visit Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury, Vermont unless, like us, you were already here enjoying this wonderful little oft-snowy state in New England. With that in mind, we’ll leave you with three cow-related jokes our tour guide told us while on our tour.
Why does a milking stool have only 3 legs?
The cow has the “udder one”.
Why do cows wear bells?
Because they don’t have horns (to blow).
What do you call a cow that has just given birth?
|One Of Our Faves|
|The Tasting Room!|
Ben & Jerry’s: Peace, Love, and Ice Cream!