Vermont’s Finest

Did you know that the state of Vermont has produced two of our nations presidents? That’s right, Mr. Chester A. Arthur (21st) and Mr. Calvin Coolidge (30th), both came from maple syrup loving families of the Green Mountain State. However, it’s a different pair of men who may have gained Vermont the attention of the national audience and given Vermonters something to truly be proud of. Their names are Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen. But, you might know them better as, Ben & Jerry.

It’s been 33 years since Ben and Jerry opened the doors to their namesake ice cream shop over on the corner of St. Paul and College streets there in downtown Burlington, Vermont. They invested $12,000 to renovate an old gas station, and there it was, Ben&Jerry’s Homemade, America’s waste lines and summer nights would never be the same. Their first year was a success, as they provided a karamel sutra of flavors, from Chocolate Fudge Brownie to Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch; and they celebrated the parlor’s 1-year anniversary with the first-ever free cone day. Ben&Jerry are their names, and ice cream is certainly their game…

What makes Ben&Jerry’s delicious dairy delicacies so delightful isn’t just the Fairly Traded ingredients they put into each pint (or gallon, for all you chubby hubbies out there), but the detail and message Jerry and Ben deliver with each and every one of their products. For instance, if you took the brand names and pictures of ice cream off of every carton of ice cream in your local grocery store, customers would still be able to recognize Ben&Jerry’s cream by their iconic cartons. (For those of you thin, vegan types, and any others who might be unfamiliar) The cartons boast comedic flavor names and are covered in cartoony landscapes with cows and clouds, not to mention a black&white image of the Hermit Thrush watching duo on every carton. Some of my favorites include, Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, and Late Night Snack. With Ben&Jerry’s it’s all about the little things, from the chocolate fishes on Phish Food to the kids in their community.

Since their scoop inception Jerry and Ben have always been about doing what’s right and fighting for what they believe in. I’ve already mentioned they partake in fairly traded business, but they have also been involved in other efforts to help the environment using “eco-pints” made from unbleached brown kraft paper with non-toxic clay coating, and producing flavors like Rainforest Crunch (all proceeds benefiting rainforest preservation), as well as products to benefit children, with flavors such as, Peanut Butter & Jelly, which helped kids and schools get “techno-connected.”

In 1999, Ben and Jerry’s company was ranked by NYU as the #5 most reputable company in the US – some might even call it the, AmeriCone Dream – as in, the businesses you can trust and rely on, businesses that other businesses admire. Truth is, Ben&Jerry’s is a good company, who makes even better ice cream.

-Max, @mortiz102