When dairy farmers Judy and Mickey Childers began making ice cream for the Morgan County Farmers Federation’s annual meeting, they had no idea they’d still be churning it out for the group 25 years later.
“Now we’ve got over 200 people at the meeting each year,” Judy said. “And they’re always ready to get that homemade ice cream as soon as they arrive. I think it’s some people’s favorite part of the meeting.”
The 5-gallon ice cream maker the Childers use to supply vanilla ice cream to hundreds of people is the same one they started using a quarter century ago.
“It’s so heavy,” Judy said. “We’ve had to have some work done on the ice cream maker a few times by the Amish people — it’s a very special piece of equipment.”
In addition to making ice cream all these years, Judy and Mickey have run a dairy farm with Judy’s father, Ganes Burden, since the couple graduated from Auburn and married.
“A lot of dairy farms aren’t around anymore — dairy is a tough business,” Judy said. “All farming is a gambling situation, but we’ve just been blessed. We’ve had a lot more good times than bad.”
These days, there are four generations on the farm her father began.
“My dad is 92 and is still very much involved — he’s always got something going,” she said. “And now our two sons, Jim and John, are partners with us. Our daughter teaches at the local high school, and all six of our grandchildren are on the farm a good bit.”
Dairy, in addition to being a staple of the American diet, makes possible a favorite activity in Southern kitchens — baking. Butter, cream cheese, whipping cream, buttermilk and even yogurt are essentials for making sweet treats and sweet memories.
Judy Childers’ ice cream recipe may make 200 people smile each year, but her crisped tea cakes are a crowd pleaser for six of her favorite people — her grandchildren.
“We put a little glaze on them, and the kids get to pick the color,” she said. “They just think that’s the neatest thing.”