SPASTIC THOUGHTS FROM LITTLE ITALY: Tech Farm Dairy left out in the cold

May 12, 2010

by Amy Olita

Even though this is my third year at Tech, last year was the first year I ventured back to Ruston before the school year began, and I came in search of peaches.

The Squire Creek Louisiana Peach Festival will celebrate its diamond anniversary this year, June 25-27, but one thing that will be regrettably missing from the festivities is true Ruston peach ice cream produced locally at the Tech Farm Dairy.

After reading the story on Page 1 about the potential fate of the dairy’s ice cream machine, I became worried about what this means for Ruston, North Louisiana and, rather selfishly, my stomach.

Ice cream is one of my guilty pleasures, and I have been waiting eagerly all year for the peaches to ripen and the ice cream to be made because I, while I went to the peach festival last year, I unfortunately did not get the ice cream that was much needed as a respite for the sweltering day.

So, if I choose to attend the 60th Annual Squire Creek Louisiana Peach Festival, I will get some peach ice cream, but I will have a moment of silence for the flavors that could be, the flavors I have heard about but will possibly never get to experience. Instead of being truly Rustonian, the ice cream served at this year’s festival will be made in Baton Rouge, which might put a bitter taste in the mouth of some North Louisiana festival-goers.

Every year the peach festival hosts local businesses and vendors, but this year, the business which used to be right in the middle of the party will be left out in the cold, no thanks to state budget cuts and Tech’s administration.

Nancy Bergeron, director of communications
for the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, said the peach festival brings, on average, $3 million to this area’s economy. Part of that, I assume, would be part of Tech’s sales from making the ice cream, but that’s one chunk of change that Tech will be missing out on this summer. The $48,000 needed to repair the Tech Farm Dairy’s ice cream machine could not be allocated away from the emergency fund.

Bergeron said even though the ice cream will not be made locally, it will still include Ruston peaches.

“People will still buy all the peach ice cream we have to sell,” she said.

It’s not the Ruston economy that will miss out. This is yet another example of Tech suffering from its own frugality. Without the school’s ability to provide money for programs that benefit the school, students and community, it seems the people concerned will be responsible for saving the dairy.

Bergeron said she hopes by 2011 the peach festival will again feature Tech dairy ice cream, but unless the department receives a miraculous donation, I?am skeptical as to whether or not I will be able to enjoy the ice cream I?have heard so much about.

Amy Olita is a senior journalism major from Shreveport who serves as associate editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to ako005@latech.edu.