For decades, Epworth Children's Home in Columbia has been well known in Methodist circles for two things: caring for children, and the unique dessert it has produced since the Great Depression: peanut butter ice cream. The government sent the home large quantities of peanut butter to help give the children protein, and the cooks served it in every way they could think of, said Epworth President John Holler. In those days, the home had a dairy, so someone suggested trying to make ice cream with it.
The experiment worked, and the children – and the home’s visitors, plus lucky local churches – have enjoyed it ever since. Over the years, people have told Holler “you should market this, it’s so good.” And with the help of a specialty producer in Atlanta, that’s about to happen at last. The enterprise will start slowly, building sales through specialty restaurants and community events before branching out into grocery stores with a variety of products. What’s most exciting to Holler, however, is the good the ice cream will do. He said 100 percent of the profits from the ice cream will go to children’s causes. That way, he said, from the people who enjoy this historic treat to the various charities it will help, everybody wins. He joked about one other benefit for himself: “when I retire, I get to drive the ice cream truck!”