Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield grew up in Merrick, Long Island. They first met in junior high school, where they began a lasting friendship.
Jerry finished college but couldn’t get into any med schools; Ben got into several colleges but dropped out of every one of them. It was at this point in their lives that they decided to start their own food business.
After splitting the cost of a $5 correspondence course on ice cream-making from Penn State University, they combined their $8000 life savings with a $4000 bank loan, leased an old gas station building in Burlington, Vermont, and opened for business in 1978.
Using an old-fashioned ice cream freezer, they began churning out all chunky ice cream flavors they’d always dreamed about, flavors loaded with all their favorite chunks of fruits, nuts, candies, and cookies.
Then the unthinkable happened. Ben and Jerry sold out to a big corporation.
In April 2000, Ben & Jerry’s sold the company to Anglo-Dutch multinational food giant Unilever, and although the founders’ names are still attached to the product, they do not hold any board or management position and are not involved in day-to-day management of the company.
Unilever continued to market its ice cream as a local and natural product after Unilever’s purchase. And in 2002, Ben & Jerry’s was accused of misleading customers by falsely claiming that its ice cream products were “All Natural,” when they in fact contained artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, or other factory-made substances.
Despite the sale of Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield continue to market various flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream.
In 2007, Ben and Jerry appeared on the The Colbert Report to promote their new ice cream flavor, Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream, and their grassroots education and advocacy project, TrueMajority.
Then in 2011, Cohen and Greenfield appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and unveiled their new flavor, Late Night Snack, whose carton features a picture of Jimmy Fallon.
Also in 2011, Ben & Jerry’s released a flavor named Schweddy Balls, in homage to the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name.
In keeping with the Ben & Jerry’s tradition of dreaming up intriguing ice cream flavor combinations, Quirk Books, an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia, has invented a few Ben & Jerry ice cream flavors of their own based on book themes.
Berry Potter and the Container of Secrets
Muggles rejoice! Inside this container you’ll find a magical blend of butter beer, Bertie Bott’s Strawberry Flavor Beans and chocolate frogs. No need to employ the Dark Arts.
A Clockwork Orange Creamsicle
A concoction made with milk-plus direct from Korova so disturbingly delicious you won’t have to force it down!
Indulge in this mix of rich dark chocolate and simple vanilla flavors with a smattering of English Toffee. Eat sparingly, for a combination like this begs you to ask “Please, sir, I want some more.”
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Make a wish, look inside your dish
Inside your dish, there’s candy fish
Candy fish in chocolatey goo
inside the goo are marshmallows too
All this combines for the perfect snacks
The perfect snacks to share with a Zax
War and Peach
An ambitious, sweeping, and impeccably detailed frozen treat of truly epic proportions, with so many ingredients that you’ll forget most of them existed by the time you’re halfway through your cone. Not easy to get through without a headache, but if you make it, you can brag about finishing it for the rest of your life.
Whirled War Z
Nothing is off-limits during the impending zombie apocalypse. Gummy worms crawl through a swirl of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Beware of the random splattering of cherries. You’ll want to stockpile these rations when the uprising occurs.