Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with California Ice Cream and Flavors!

By Lauren Dutra, NAFB Summer Intern and Assistant Editor

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board
Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

First established in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, National Ice Cream Month was scheduled for the month of July, with the third Sunday of the month designated as National Ice Cream Day.

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board, explained why Californians, in particular, have so much to celebrate during National Ice Cream Month. “As the number one ice cream state,” she said, “we produce 126 million gallons of ice cream a year.”

Thats a lot of scoops!

California also leads the nation in milk production, and 99 percent of dairies in the state are family-owned. Including milk production on farms and milk processing, the California dairy industry, supports about 190,000 jobs in the California economy and contributed about $21 billion in economic value added in 2014, according to “Contributions of the California Dairy Industry to the California Economy,” by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (May 14, 2015). 

Blueberry Ice Cream Float
Blueberry Ice Cream Float (Source: California Milk Advisory Board, Kristina Vanni Blogger, 2012)

Ice cream, being both timeless and innovative, has evolved in flavors and varieties over the years, according to Giambroni, while still holding true to the traditional treat you grew up with as a kid. “Ice cream is an important category that represents a lot of the milk produced on California’s more than 1,400 family dairy farms and carry the Real California Milk seal,” she noted.

“We’re seeing adult-friendly milkshakes with the addition of spirits, ice cream sandwiches made with more than cookies, and sundaes with everything from balsamic vinegar reductions to red bean paste,” Giambroni elaborated. Other new ice cream trends include hyper-indulgent flavor combinations, including nuts and fruits grown in California, and “better for you” versions with probiotics, varying levels of fat and sugar, added calcium, lactose-free, and different kinds of oils. “We’re loving the olive oil and walnut oil ice creams for their subtle flavors,” Giambroni noted.


Approximately 12 pounds of Real California Milk are used to make just one gallon of California ice cream.


Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)
Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

The California Milk Advisory Board works with bloggers on how to incorporate ice cream into events for children of all ages:

TomKat Studio – DIY Ice cream Sandwich Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Healthy Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – How to Set Up a Cocktail Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Kids Sundae Party


Check it out:

Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)
Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Rick’s Ice CreamBlue Moon-A fruit loops tasting ice cream with super-secret natural ingredients

McConnell’s Boysenberry Rosé Milk JamCentral Coast, grass-fed milk & cream and cane sugar, slowly-simmered to a thick, rich and decadent milk jam – then churned into house-made, boysenberry & rosé wine preserves. 

Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream-packed with sun-ripened California strawberries picked at the peak of happiness!

Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Ice Cream-July 29-31, 2016

The Orange Works‘ Orange Ice Cream and Chili Mango Ice Cream

Where Is the Best Ice Cream in California? (PBS, 2014)

Commentary: Russian ban shows the folly of using food as a weapon

By Stewart Truelsen; AgAlert

We can only guess how the decision was made for Russia to ban food imports from most of the Western world, but perhaps it went something like this: President Vladimir Putin was sitting with some of his old pals from his KGB days. Putin was desperate for a way to retaliate against the West for its economic sanctions leveled against Russia for intervening to help the rebels in Ukraine. He asked for suggestions.

“Why not a boycott of their food?” suggested a former Soviet general, remembering the grain embargoes of the 1980s. “The Americans, they hate food boycotts and embargoes.”

That much is true—American farmers and ranchers hate the use of food as a weapon. In January 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced a U.S. embargo of grain and oilseed shipments to the Soviet Union because of its invasion of Afghanistan. The American Farm Bureau Federation thought it was unwise to single out American farmers by using food as a weapon of foreign policy. If sanctions were needed, AFBF preferred they be across the board, not just on food.

The grain embargo of 1980 proved to be a failure. It stimulated more grain and oilseed production in South America to fill the void left by the U.S. Fifteen months later, when President Reagan ended the Carter embargo, it had cost American farmers around $1 billion in lost export business.

This time, the biggest losers will not be American farmers.

“This is clearly a political move,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman of Putin’s ban on food imports. “It is unfortunate that the biggest losers will be the Russian consumers, who will pay more for their food now as well as in the long run.”

The old Soviet Union was dependent on American grain and oilseeds in the 1970s and ’80s, to make up for harvest shortfalls that were common under the communist system. Beginning in the 2000s, the three major grain-producing regions of the former USSR—Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan—became major grain exporters.

In 2013, Russia was the 20th largest market for U.S. agricultural and related product exports, accounting for less than 1 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports. Approximately 55 percent of these export products will be affected by the ban.

(For California, Russia ranked as the 15th largest export market in 2012, with shipments totaling $144.7 million, or about 1 percent of the state’s total agricultural exports. Almond shipments accounted for roughly 70 percent of the Russian purchases, but the Almond Board of California estimated Russia represented only about 3 percent of the export market for California almonds.)

Neither side, therefore, is as dependent on the other as they were in the past. Soviet grain deals once provided a huge stimulus to the American grain market. Nothing like that exists between Russia and the U.S. On the other hand, Europe supplies 40 percent of Russia’s agricultural market and will feel the sanctions more.

The idea to use food as a weapon is a bad one. American farmers could have told Putin that. Whoever suggested it to him should be put on the next train to Siberia. The Russian people have been turned into unwilling locavores, having to rely much more on locally produced food and paying more for it.