Miller’s Dairy puts family ice-cream machine back in production

 In Business, News

When the heat of summer comes along our thoughts turn to ice-cream, and now it is going to be made right here in Creemore.  

Miller’s Dairy, John and Marie Miller, have expanded their product line beyond fluid milk to include ice-cream. 

John treated me to a tour of Miller’s Dairy including the new ice-cream production area.  

“I have fond memories visiting the butter and ice-cream creamery in Goderich owned by my mother’s family, the Bissets,” said John. “I remember the texture and flavour was so incredible. Bissets closed the doors 50 years ago and the machine that made Bisset ice-cream sat idle. Until, I made a request to the current owner, Morris Gardener, of its whereabouts. After a brief discussion about our plan we came to an agreement. After a little thought Morris said, take it, it’s yours, go make ice-cream. So, Rob Leblond and I made the trip to Goderich and loaded a piece of family history… to return it to service, and… the journey began.”  

John spoke with great pride of his farmʼs family history and his grandfathers shared dream.  

“The challenge,” John stated, “was to find an appropriate rebuilder for our Cherry Burrell ice-cream machine.”  Soon after a company was sourced in Louisiana and off it went for a complete rebuild. “We are thrilled with the results. It is beautiful.”

Looking at this machine it’s hard to believe the amount of ice-cream it can churn out in an hour, 300 litres. The operator at the receiving end needs to stay on their toes. Large stainless steel tanks with mega beaters (agitators) keep the cream and flavouring mixed and fed straight into the Cherry Burrell ice-cream machine.  

Curious, I asked John why he decided to go into the ice-cream business and his answer was simple, “We have an abundant supply of high quality cream that we needed to find a suitable product for because it was just too good to sell off.”  

Miller’s Dairy herd of cows are exclusively Jersey and they have many positive qualities including the smallest carbon footprint of all dairy breeds, the girls have a high fat content (5.4 per cent butterfat, perfect for ice-cream), 4.1 per cent protein milk, 15-18 percent more calcium and A2 milk which means it is the easiest milk to digest. John stated, “We have chosen to produce  an ice-cream with a 15 per cent fat content for the premium ice cream enthusiast.”

A successful operation requires a hard working team and between Jalon Farms and Miller’s Dairy there are 13 hard-working employees from our local community. John, Marie, son Shawn and daughter in-law Ashton all came up with some locally inspired witty names for their Miller’s Dairy Jersey ice-cream.  

To watch the Millers talk about their business you can tell they have and Ying/Yang collusion, they balance each other out with great results. One of the greatest challenges in the development of the new product is the packaging. Shane Durnford has been working on the ice-cream container which will be available in quart/946 ml size only. 

The ice-cream machine was only the first step for equipment as many more components were needed for the plan.  Such as, a small flash freezer, needed to freeze the ice-cream quickly and also a huge walk in freezer to keep the ice-cream at an optimal temperature.  Also, a truck was converted and a freezer unit was installed to keep the ice-cream frozen for deliveries. 

John and Marie have worked hard to get their products out into the market place. They have canvassed many a grocery store and retail outlet. To date they have over 110 store locations that sell their Jersey milk products. Not only are they unveiling their ice-cream at the upcoming Miller’s Dairy Day but, they also have recently introduced strawberry milk and coffee milk. I had the pleasure of sampling both and they were a treat for my taste buds. 

When you get to Miller’s Dairy Day you will find one of the original ice-cream machine operators, John’s cousin, giving you the play-by-play from back in the day. John Walters operated this very same Cherry Burrell ice-cream machine as a summer job while in high school.  

I’m sure he will have some good yarns to share. He will be happy to regale you with adventures of the ice-cream production from many a year ago.   

Get ready for three smooth and delicious ice-cream flavours being introduced at this year’s Miller’s Dairy Day. There is one week left of practice to get this Jersey ice-cream just right.

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