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Ice Cream Chronicles (Vol. 18): Cones and Cylinders - United Dairy Farmers

It took me awhile to go beyond UDF's generally inexpensive gasoline
and explore their surprisingly tasty ice cream offerings 
I confess I knew that United Dairy Farmers (known pretty much around these parts by their acronym UDF) sold ice cream fairly early on, mainly from ads touting their arrival of their seasonal peach flavor. However, I kind of discounted it in my mind, mainly due to other delicious dives into locally-based favorites like Jeni's, Graeter's and Johnson's Real Ice Cream; I figured the ice cream offerings from what was in my mind a convenience store couldn't possibly hold their own against those smaller production efforts. For me, UDF was a place where I could grab some relatively inexpensive gas for the area to fuel the cylinders in my car engine.

But there were a few holes in that line of thinking. One hole was just a simple lack of knowledge: UDF, which celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year in May, started off as a strictly dairy-oriented operation, with the convenience store/gasoline aspect being added on much later. Also, I had figured the ice cream sold at UDF was all of the prepackaged variety: it was indeed hearing of UDF's 75th anniversary when I heard of the notion that they sold scoops at their shops. Finally, my spouse gave me her word that UDF actually had some pretty good ice cream, with the cherry cordial and the seasonal flavor peach being especially tasty.

Well, geez, twist my arm, why don't you.

This UDF's dipping station brought back some childhood
memories of a certain drug store's ice cream offerings
To be honest, a full-service ice cream station looks a little weird inside a convenience store in my eyes. As I found out, patience is sometimes required when UDF staff members are dealing with a rush of people doing what they do at a convenience store in picking up a couple sundries or pumping a couple dozen dollars or so worth of gasoline in their car. But once they are ready to attend to you, my UDF clerks were just like any ice cream store employee, offering you tastes of the various ice cream and informing you about the latest flavors.

As I reviewed the generally familiar and novel flavors for sale, and as I waited for my dips (another term I had never heard before coming to the Midwest) to be scooped into cups (with a thunderstorm cell pounding the area, my clerk wanted to make sure my ice cream survived the transfer to the car) I began to realize that UDF reminded me a lot of one of my favorite unlikely childhood places to get an ice cream cone in the form of Thrifty's Drug Store. Long since bought out by Rite Aid, Thifty's Drug Store ice cream stands, which from what I could remember always seemed to be near the photo area, were always a must visit when we dropped by. Here, it wasn't car cylinders but cylinder-shaped scooping devices that provided a unique visual appeal to their dips, and my double or triple scoop was almost always included their Chocolate Malted Krunch, a uniquely beguiling concoction and nothing like I have encountered since.

Can't go wrong with UDF flavors like Peach and Cherry Cordial
None of the flavors we sampled from UDF rose up to that "mythic" Malted krunch ice cream, but they definitely were all rather pleasant. Both my spouse's fruit-based twosome of the seasonal Peach and the Cherry Cordial (just simply yum) and my nut-based pairing of Get Your Peanuts! (uncannily mimicking a Payday) and my usual Butter Pecan (a solid effort) were all quite enjoyable, and just a reminder that if I need some churned frozen sweetness in my life, I can grab a couple scoops of it almost anytime I fuel up the car.

United Dairy Farmers
Numerous locations throughout Ohio
Location visited: 5370 N High St (Clintonville/Sharon Heights)
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 846-4800
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