EL REWIND: The MSU Dairy Store
The MSU Dairy Store was created in 1958 when MSU’s Dairy department opened its doors as a research facility.
In its early years, the Dairy Store only carried a few selections of cheese and ice-cream – very different than the number of selections that it carries today. Also, the Dairy Store was only open twice a week; now it is open every day of the week.
Dairy Store employee, Ronald Kim, said that over the years, the Dairy Store has gone through several changes, including its current main location in Anthony Hall. Another smaller branch is located in the MSU Union.
MSU uses resources such as its own cows to make a variety of dairy products including Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Blue Moon ice cream and seasonal and seasonal or event-related creations like Pumpkin Spice and Sesquicentennial Swirl. Dairy Store employees (who tend to be MSU students) will let you sample a variety of flavors before you commit.
Cheese offerings range from exotic Caerphilly (a hard, white cheese originally made in Wales) and Dagano (a Swiss-like cheese lauded by Saveur Magazine) to the more familiar cheddars and cheese curds, with Chocolate Cheese Confection as a wild card choice.
“We have the best ice cream in the state of Michigan, in my opinion, and without a doubt the highest quality of cheese,” said Kim.
Kim also said that the Dairy Store is “a great place to work.”
When asked about his favorite part of working at the Dairy Store, Kim said “being affiliated with the university.”
“I feel like we have a very positive impact on the university,” said Kim. He added, “I feel like it’s a little landmark of the school.”
People wait in lines that stretch out the door for these dairy products, even in the winter. Sometimes these lines will come with a 45 – 60 minute wait, but people still stick around said Kim.
He added that it’s interesting how many people actually go to the Dairy Store. He attributes this to the store having “a very transparent process.”
“We make all of the ice cream in the plant, which is right next door to us,” said Kim. “This is the main way in which we differ from larger, corporate ice cream shops” said Kim. He added that a major perk of working at the Dairy Store is being able to taste all of the new products and offer suggestions before they go out to the public.
Kim also said that MSU is the first land-grant institution to have a Dairy Stores on its campus.
If you’re looking to head over to the Dairy Store any time soon, Kim offered a little known tip: free tomato soup is given out, only on Mondays, with a purchase of a grilled cheese sandwich. (As a matter of fact, tomato soup is only offered on Mondays.) If you don’t make it on a Monday, there’s a different Soup of the Day every day of the week, and there are always grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu.
Mostly, Kim says, “come on over!”
The MSU Dairy Store has two locations on the MSU campus: 107 MSU Union Building and 1140 S Anthony Hall.
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