When I was a kid, my parents would drive my sisters and I out to the Kerber Dairy farm in Irwin. Once every few years, the Kerbers (my cousins) would have a family reunion, and invite the entire extended family. Kerbers would come from all over the state, probably close to a hundred in all. We would play lawn darts, eat roasted pig, and most importantly, devour large amounts of ice cream. This wasn’t just any ice cream, it was soft serve. This particular ice cream was fluffy, sweet, and delicious. The large machine that produced the creamy goodness was located in the garage, all you had to do was grab a cone or cup, and help yourself. There were no limits on how much we could consume- eat as much as you want! Well, we did eat a lot of ice cream; as much as we could during this long, precious summer day. As the sun left the sky, and stars started to come out, we knew it was going to be time to go home soon. Kids (and parents) would line up at the ice cream machine for one last cone or cup. As I put my seatbelt on, I looked at my last cone from the Kerber Dairy Farm; my last cone from this miraculous place where butterfat and vanilla run free….. I savored my ice cream on the way home, one lick every few minutes; it had to last. I was a little sick to my stomach, but I finally finished my soft serve treat as we pulled into the driveway an hour later. I looked over at my sisters sleeping, their cups half full of melted ice cream-amateurs!
A few years ago I visited the Kerber Dairy Farm as an adult; it had been many years since I had seen my relatives. As I neared the farm I was dizzy with anticipation; not necessarily to see my cousins, but to make myself a cone. As I pulled up the driveway and waved to my family, I noticed the garage door was shut. I parked my car behind the house, avoided contact with anyone, and opened a side door to the house, and made my way to the garage. No ice cream machine-
I ate food, played a few games (not lawn darts- they were no longer legal) and overall, had a nice time, but it just wasn’t the same. As the day ended, I drove home longing for the days when I was kid- no worries, no work, and all the ice cream you could eat.
Chef Chuck Kerber