There’s ice cream behind the counter and goat meat in the refrigerated cases.
The LSU AgCenter Dairy Store tries to accommodate its customers.
Fresh from the university’s farms and on-campus slaughterhouse, there’s beef, pork and lamb, too.
The adjoining creamery turns out eggnog at Christmas time and produces cheeses, including jalapeno Cajun cheese, boudin and other sausages year-round.
By the end of August, LSU dairy science professor Chuck Boeneke hopes to be selling milk from the university’s dairy herd in the store.
Boeneke is working on an applewood smoked cheddar and a Cajun chipotle cheddar using smoked jalapenos. The creamery produces as much as 4,000 pounds of cheese a year.
Freshman orientation is a busy time at the Dairy Store, Boeneke said. The store does a brisk business in ice cream and meats during football season. It’s also popular with faculty, students and staff as a coffee and sandwich shop, Boeneke said.
The store’s best known for the 10,000 gallons of ice cream produced each year ?with such flavors as Tiger Bite (vanilla with blueberry swirl), chocolate chip, cookies and cream, strawberry, mint chip, butter pecan, coffee toffee, English toffee, banana fudge, rum raisin, strawberry cheesecake, mango and blueberry cheesecake.
The store sells 250 to 300 gallons of ice cream a week and supplies ice cream to campus cafeterias. Ice cream is sold in cones, cups and 3-gallon buckets.
“It gets really busy during orientation,” said Jamie Lee, an 18-year-old business major.
“A lot of families come in,” she said. “We sell a lot of meat to grad students. Foreign students buy the lamb and goat.”
Boeneke, 41, has been associated with the dairy store and creamery since his student days and knows the production routine well.
“We usually start with vanilla because we use it a lot in our shakes,” he said. “It takes a couple of days to get the ingredients together. Today, we’re making cookies and cream, strawberry and black cherry.”
A 12 percent fat mix for white-based flavors (10 percent for chocolate), cooking to high temperatures during pasteurization, pure vanilla extract and cane sugar give LSU ice cream a distinctive taste, Boeneke said.
Students who work in dairy foods and dairy production have jobs before they graduate, said Gary Hay, director of the School of Animal Sciences.
“They learn to work in a plant environment,” he said.
Budget cuts to the LSU AgCenter threaten a program that generates most of its own income, Hay said.
“Our concern is that the creamery and the dairy farm provide research and development for our students and the state’s dairy industry,” he said. “We won’t be able to do that if we’re cut.”
The creamery operates on a budget of $120,000, Hay said.
“It made a profit of $7,000 this (fiscal) year which goes back into the creamery,” he said.
The first LSU creamery was built in 1905 on land now occupied by the Capitol when the campus was downtown.
The creamery moved to the basement of Coates Hall on the present campus in 1925.
During World War II rationing, Baton Rougeans bought dairy products at the creamery until demand and a labor shortage forced the creamery to close.
The creamery moved to South Stadium Drive in 1956. The Dairy Store opened in 1972. For a time in the 1980s, the store operated as the Market Place, a joint venture of the Department of Dairy Science and the Student Government Association.