Ring out, wild (Blue) Bells

(With a minor apology to Alfred Lord Tennyson.)

Blue Bell ice cream is back!!!!!! So what if there is snow on the ground (we got 5″ yesterday), it is not yet above freezing, and there’s two cartons of Braums ice cream in the freezer already. That’s not the point. This is Blue Bell, the (un)official ice cream of Texas.

Blue Bell started life as Brenham Creamery, because they are located in Brenham, Texas, a small town between College Station and Houston. They took the name “Blue Bell” from the flower. And they growed. And growed. There’s a reason their motto is “We eat all we can, and sell the rest.” For a while they did not sell outside of a few hundred miles radius of Brenham because the trucks could not keep the ice cream cold enough to stay properly fresh. Plainview, about 90 miles south of Amarillo, was the northern limit to Blue Bell’s range. And almost every time we passed that way, Mom Red found a reason to stop at one of the places that sold Blue Bell by the scoop.

Then the trucks got better, and Blue Bell arrived in Amarillo, and there was much rejoicing.

But, you say, it’s still mass-produced ice cream. It doesn’t even have cool flavors like Ben and Jerry’s Vermonty Python (which was really good, I admit). Blue Bunny’s just as good, better if you like candy and crunchies in your ice cream.

Yeah, but . . . Blue Bell is a Texas native. Blue Bell is owned by the same family that owned it back in 1915 or so. Blue Bell comes in large tubs that have not developed false bottoms or shrunk. Blue Bell does not get involved with politics. They make ice cream and ice cream stuff. And it is very good. And they did the right thing after the Listeria mess a year ago.

“Yeah, but that’s because they didn’t want to get sued or shut down by the state/Feds/survivors of the people who died or got sick.”

Probably true. But up here, after the Plainview peanut debacle, to see a company do something that drastic for the good of customers means a lot. You see, the peanut processor ignored warnings, and one manager in particular knew about the massive sanitation problems at a processing facility in Plainview, TX and ignored them. People got very sick, a few died, and eventually the plant closed by Health Department order. The manager, along with the company president and other officers, was prosecuted. When Blue Bell closed plants on their own volition, and announced that they were going to improve and re-work things to prevent future problems, well, people thought it was the right thing to do, what a responsible company should do.

So Blue Bell is back, and Texans are happy. At least, Texas ice cream fans who like ice cream from the big tubs from Brenham are happy.


3 thoughts on “Ring out, wild (Blue) Bells

  1. I do like the Bluebell “Homemade Vanilla” and the lack of false bottoms and the absence of (silly) politics. Yes, I’ve been to Brenham and taken the tour. Alas, it still doesn’t make it up to Minnesota and we have to settle for other sources.

    And I am reminded of a story about an auto plant for a “Japanese” make and a person who worked there, talking to someone from another auto plant for an “Armerican” make:

    “Someone noticed something wrong and stopped the line. We were down 3 hours to get it fixed.”
    “Three hours not in production? That’s terrible!”
    “No, three hours not making junk that will haunt us. It’s great to be making only good stuff.”

  2. The only ice cream I eat is Blue Bunny Pistachio Almond. For some reason, it actually LOWERS my blood sugar, instead of sending it through the roof like other ice creams. I can’t eat it often — about once every four or five days — but at least I can enjoy ice cream again!

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