Starting immediately, residents of Payson will be able to get their first taste of what the rest of the South and Southwest have been talking about -- Blue Bell Ice Cream from Brenham, Texas.
Called "the best ice cream in the country," Blue Bell is now celebrating its 100th anniversary. Blue Bell is the number-three best-selling ice cream brand in the U.S., although it is only sold in 17 states.
Blue Bell will be distributed directly to Bashas' supermarket in Payson. Among the 250 products offered are Blue Bell Ice Cream, Light Ice Cream, Sherbet, Frozen Yogurt, No Sugar Added Blue Bell and Blue Bell Frozen Snacks. Direct-store delivery -- which means that no one other than a Blue Bell employee handles the product from production until it reaches the grocer's shelf -- is one of the ways Blue Bell ensures that consumers get the freshest possible ice cream.
According to Melvin Ziegenbein, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell, "Blue Bell Ice Cream has had an enthusiastic reception throughout Texas and across the Southwest, Southeast and up into the Midwest. After many requests from consumers and grocery store managers, we are delighted to be able to bring Blue Bell to Payson."
Blue Bell Creameries, known as "the Little Creamery in Brenham," to ice cream lovers, was founded as The Brenham Creamery Company in 1907 in Brenham, Texas, a town of 13,000, located 70 miles northwest of Houston in the rolling hills of Central Texas.
The Creamery was originally founded to make butter from the excess cream marketed by local farmers, but ice cream was added to the product line in 1911. At that time, the Creamery produced two gallons of ice cream a day, hand-cranked in a wooden tub filled with ice. In 1930, the name of the company was changed to "Blue Bell," after the favorite Texas wildflower of the company's manager. Butter was produced until 1958 when Blue Bell began to focus fulltime on making "the best ice cream in the country."
Blue Bell has produced many innovative products over the years, including the original "Cookies ‘n Cream," and other creative new ice cream flavors such as Century Sundae and Anniversary Cake, new to the Blue Bell product lineup this year, in honor of the company's 100th birthday. Century Sundae contains Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla swirled with caramel and chocolate sauces, a whipped topping and diced maraschino cherries. Anniversary Cake is an almond-flavored ice cream with white cake pieces and a swirl of rich amaretto cream cheese icing.
The most popular flavor of Blue Bell Ice Cream, year after year, however, is the original Homemade Vanilla, created in 1969, which, fans say, tastes remarkably like the hand-cranked ice cream folks used to make on the porch during long summer evenings.