While BYU is perhaps best known for its academic achievements and sports programs, since the mid 1940’s the university has owned and operated a successful dairy farm and creamery.
Brigham Young University has operated a dairy farm since 1946. The first farm was located on 24 acres in Northern Provo. The farm operations included a creamery, producing milk and dairy products mostly for the university community. In the 1950s, the creamery was transferred from the College of Applied Science to BYU Auxiliary Services. Then in 1957 the school purchased approximately 600 acres of farmland in Spanish Fork to increase the school’s farming operations. Agriculture professor Grant Richards helped bring BYU’s dairy herd to a prize-winning level and by 1959, BYU’s pure-bred Holsteins were known to produce over twice as much milk and butter than the average American dairy cow.
In 1949, a dairy-processing plant was built just north of the Central Heating Plant. The College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences developed a curriculum in dairy processing, though these courses were eventually replaced by food science courses. The Dairy Products Laboratory building was completed in 1964 after nine months of construction. In 2009, the facility moved locations on campus and expanded to become the BYU Culinary Support Center. This new expanded operation is responsible for all on campus food, feeding tens of thousands of people daily.
The Creamery on Ninth opened in 2000. Kent’s Market, a grocery store located in the current Creamery’s location, had closed in 1999 after serving BYU students for 59 years. Heritage Halls residents and other students complained about the closure, so the university decided to refurbish the building and open a university-run grocery store and grill. The Creamery on Ninth opened on August 23, 2000 and quickly became a popular spot for BYU students and locals alike. Besides the flagship Creamery on Ninth store, soon creamery locations were established including Helaman Creamery, Creamery Outlet, Wyview Creamery, Takeaway Creamery, and Creamery Express.
While BYU's Creamery locations sell a wide variety of goods, the main attraction has always been the ice cream. With milk supplied from BYU’s dairy farm in Elberta, Utah, BYU Creamery Operations now produce over 200,000 gallons of ice cream per year. BYU’s ice cream formulas have 2-4% higher milk fat content than most ice cream recipes, giving it an unusually rich, creamy consistency. Although LaVell’s Vanilla holds the number one spot for half-gallon sales, the Creamery reports Graham Canyon to be its most popular flavor.
BYU Creameries play an integral role in the social fabric of BYU, providing convenient locations for students and staff to buy groceries and a fun place to relax after a long day of work.