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JD Engine Drives Ice Cream Maker
In his spare time, Jacob Miller started a portable ice cream-making business that produces smiles for all of his customers and extra cash.
Miller’s business, called Putt Putt Ice Cream, has been delighting crowds not only through its delicious product but also the way the homemade ice cream is produced, using a rebuilt 1946 John Deere stationary engine. Miller has taken his vintage ice cream maker on the road for two years, churning out fresh vanilla to customers at summer events throughout northeastern Wisconsin.
Miller grew up watching homemade ice cream makers use a similar setup. A friend of Miller’s totally rebuilt the 76-year-old water-cooled engine, which produces about one and a half horsepower. Miller mixes ingredients in a stainless-steel bucket that holds about five gallons, then adds ice and salt around the bucket. That reduces the ingredient temperature down to 0 degrees. The first batch of ice cream takes about 40 minutes to make, and after that Miller can produce a batch in about 30 minutes because the bucket is cold.
“Churning out five gallons at a time I can keep sales rolling and customers happy,” Miller says. He sells the creamy custard-like goodness out of a trailer that’s similar to a mobile food stand.
“It takes a lot of prep time,” Miller says. “Then of course there’s the event I’m serving at, clean-up and pack-up time. By the time I get home, the days are very long. If the event is a couple of days long, I’m only getting 3 to 4 hrs. of sleep.”
Miller admits the process would be easier and faster with an electric system, but he wouldn’t get the same reaction from customers. He says, “They marvel at the old-fashioned setup. Older people see it and remember a similar setup growing up on a farm. Then, of course, the younger generation, especially children, are very curious and wonder what the machine is. It brings in all age groups, which is a good selling point.”
Promoting his side business through Facebook and Instagram, Miller has seen hungry customers travel more than two hours to try his homemade ice cream.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jacob Miller, Cecil, Wisc. (ph 715-584-1407; puttputticecream@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/Puttputticecream).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #2