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Area teams compete in ice cream contest

July 26, 2005|by HEATHER KEELS

SHARPSBURG

heatherk@herald-mail.com

Sitting at a picnic table in the Ag Expo's main show ring Monday afternoon, 8-year-old Marie Quick glanced up from her task of periodically pouring salt over the barrel of ice to take in a bit of farm lore from Ag Expo treasurer Bill Shelton.

"Have you ever made ice cream in a coffee can?" he asked. When Marie and her mom shook their heads, Shelton described how he used to teach Cub Scouts how to make ice cream by putting the ingredients in a small can, sealing it and placing it in a large coffee can filled with ice, then rolling it back and forth.

"We'll have to try it," Marie's mother, Kendra Rohrer, told her.

For Marie, however, the transformation of cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, peaches and other ingredients into peaches-and-cream ice cream on a 95-degree afternoon was pretty amazing in itself, even though her team used an electric ice cream freezer.

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The Peaches and Cream team, representing USDA Rural Development, was one of two teams to enter this year's Ag Expo ice cream-churning contest. Their competition, a team of six representing MidAtlantic Farm Credit, ultimately won the judges over with its chocolate ice cream and took first place, though participants agreed the contest was more about enjoying homemade ice cream on a hot day than competing.

"It's a fun contest and that's why we come out," said Dean Boggs, a member of the Farm Credit team. "We think it's very important to support the people who support us."

First tastes of the ice cream went to the panel of judges, who savored each thoughtfully while rating it on various aspects of body and texture, flavor and color.

"We want it to be smooth," explained Mike Creek, a judge from Palmyra Dairy Farm. "The texture of it is a big thing. And that it's cold, on a day like today."

The coldness also was a big part of it for the groups of sweating children who flocked around the picnic tables at the first mention that the ice cream was almost ready. Among them was Wade Dorsey, 9, of Clear Spring, who said he poured soda on his shirt earlier in the day to help cool off, and Tori Poffenberger, 11, of Sharpsburg, who headed straight for the Hawaiian shaved ice stand after biking three miles to the Agricultural Education Center with her family.

One by one, team members spooned samples of ice cream into plastic cups and handed them out to the children and other guests.

Even Craig Harrison, a vegetarian from Boonsboro who usually doesn't consume dairy products, got in line for a taste of the chocolate.

"It will make me cough, but that's OK, I'll cough," Harrison said. "It's worth it."

Craig and his wife, Sharon Harrison, a vegan, make their own homemade ice cream out of cashews and rice. The couple said they considered entering the ice cream-churning contest but needed an additional two people to meet the four-person requirement.

Though the anticipation of waiting for the ice cream to freeze and thicken adds to the allure of homemade ice cream, particularly on hot afternoons, there also are real differences, said Creek, who grew up making ice cream on his dairy farm and also works for a company that sells ice cream-making equipment.

Ice cream can be lighter or heavier depending on how much air gets mixed into it, and homemade ice cream freezers let less air in, resulting in creamier, more flavorful ice cream, Creek said.

"There's a big difference from store-bought ice cream," agreed Travis Rhoton, 14, of Williamsport, who had taken a break from washing, feeding and walking steers to grab a sample of the peaches and cream. "It's more creamy, I guess. I don't know - it just tastes better."

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