The UDairy Creamery is branching out. Students are getting ready to start cheese and dairy production in the new Genuardi Food Innovation Lab thanks to a gift from a family synonymous with fresh food.
The new, gleaming 3,600 square foot innovation laboratory holds space for new dairy processing equipment, a student test kitchen and cheese production. The facility, which opened its doors in April, will allow students to learn entrepreneurial and food production skills that will help take them from the classroom to a range of career opportunities.
The Genuardi family first started a small produce business in 1920 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, an enterprise that would grow to become a successful chain of regional supermarkets, ultimately acquired by Safeway in 2001.
Fortunately for the University of Delaware, the Genuardi family has long been committed to sharing the business acumen that drove that success – and the financial wealth that resulted – for the benefit of students interesting in food marketing, sales and management.
“The primary product of the Creamery is always the well-educated student; the byproduct is the ice cream and now we will have a whole lot more byproducts with cheese, and eventually butter and yogurt,” said UD Dean Mark Reiger.
“I felt like I never really left campus. We are so proud to be part of the University and its future,” said Charles Genuardi, who earned his bachelor’s degree at UD in food business in 1970. “We have a special interest and pride in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. We are fortunate to be able to give back in this way.”
The UDairy Creamery educates entrepreneurial UD students through the production and sale of premium ice cream made from the milk from the cows on UD’s dairy farm.
The new facility will allow the Creamery to begin producing cheese and other dairy products, thanks to a newly remodeled floor plan with processing utilities, vat pasteurization, cheese making and sanitation equipment and a quality assurance laboratory. A food science test kitchen is also now available for students and faculty to work on projects, coursework and research.
UDairy Creamery Director Melinda Shaw said it has been eight years since the venture’s “storefront” opened in Newark. “I’ve had the honor and privilege of seeing our on-site production from the very beginning. We’ve now had 400 UD students learn and work at the Creamery.”
The University said a viewing gallery will also open to the public during normal business hours, so visitors can watch cheese and ice cream processing in action.