Perry’s Ice Cream began in 1918 when H. Morton Perry purchased a small dairy in Akron, NY. He delivered fresh milk by horse and wagon every day until 1932 when the Akron High School asked if he could supply ice cream to their school. Excited by the prospect of growing the company during the Great Depression, Morton used a family recipe for ice cream that his mother had given him. Batches were crafted one at a time and slow cooked for an exceptionally creamy texture and taste, the same way we still make them today. As demand increased, bulk ice cream was delivered to stores and restaurants in and around Akron.
A few decades later, we had outgrown our original location and constructed a new state-of-the-art production and office facility. With a manufacturing capacity of six million gallons a year, three times greater than the original plant, we were prepared to exceed the expectations of our growing customers.
Over the years we have continued to add technology and improve our ice cream production but we remained true to our founder’s recipe. The perfect batch of Perry’s ice cream comes from fresh milk and cream, blended with the finest ingredients, packaged, and delivered by skilled people.
Today we are one of the largest ice cream manufacturing plants in New York State. With over 300 associates, we make approximately 500 different items totaling over 12 million gallons per year. Through our partnership with the Orthodox Union, all of our ice cream flavors are kosher certified, except Bubblegum.
The most challenging part of maintaining our OU program is managing the documentation. This laborious task involves obtaining copies of kosher certificates for every ingredient we use and maintaining certifications for all of our finished products. “Every time we get a new ingredient we need to make sure it’s kosher, but you can’t tell just by looking at it whether it’s kosher or not,” says Marcus Lovelace, Perry’s Senior Food Technologist. “Before we can use an ingredient in a product, even for a test, it needs to be on our Schedule A. This can be tricky; just because an ingredient is kosher supervised does not mean it meets OU standards.”
Each year the process starts over as every ingredient certification must be updated; however, previous experience and technological advancements make continuing the OU program easier every year. Lovelace says, “This used to be far more difficult before computers when we had to use pen and paper. We have a much quicker turn-around time now than we did even five or six years ago, especially with great staff like Rabbi Heimowitz, Rabbi Coleman, and Debbie Kaufmann.”
All of the time and effort pays off for Perry’s. Maintaining our OU program provides increased marketability to both our customers and end consumers. We receive a lot of inquiries from our customers and contract manufacturing partners about our kosher status. By being OU-certified, we are able to gain more business and can continue to provide ice cream to people who follow kosher dietary law.
RABBI MICHOEL COLEMAN SERVES AS OU KOSHER RABBINIC COORDINATOR OF PERRY’S ICE CREAM.