Tips for Celebrating June Dairy Month at Home and on the Road

They say if March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. What do they say when the first 11 days of June brings daily temperatures that are nearly 20 degrees hotter than the average? We say, “Hit the road!”

In celebration of June Dairy Month, Val Plagge and her family take weekly Iowa Ice Cream Road Trips.

“I am an ice cream lover. When I was in high school, my family would make an annual trip to the Whippy Dip in Decorah, Iowa,” says Val Plagge, who farms with her husband, Ian, near Latimer in North Iowa. She also blogs at Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids. “The Whippy Dip started my love for small town, ice cream shops. I had an idea to discover more great local ice cream shops during June Dairy Month, and it’s been an annual tradition for me and Ian since 2014. Now our four kids have fun traveling across the state and visiting new places.”

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The Plagge family at Casa Chameleon in Belmond, Iowa.

The Plagge family chooses what ice cream shops to visit based on recommendations from blogs and social media followers.

“We have a running list of more than 50 places we want to try,” says Val. “Each week we look at our family’s schedule and decide which day will be ‘ice cream day.’ Then we pick our destination based on the amount of time we have available to travel.”

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An ice cream treat at Casa Chameleon in Belmond, Iowa.

They kicked off their 2021 Ice Cream Road Trip with a stop that is close to their home, as well as close to the home of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. Casa Chameleon, LLC in Belmond, Iowa, is a seasonal ice cream shop and pizza place.

“The kids loved the combo, and we all wondered why we hadn’t come over for pizza and ice cream before!” says Val. “Casa Chameleon is known for having a big variety of ice cream flavors. When we went, they had 45 to choose from! Watching them make the ice cream was just as much of a treat as eating the ice cream. They take vanilla soft serve ice cream, mix in your flavor preference and then they put the mixture into another part of the machine to twist out and serve. We loved all their unique flavors including German Chocolate and Tutti Frutti.”

The Plagges visit a different ice cream shop each week during the month of June. Then on the first of July every year, Val updates her Ice Cream Road Trip blog post. Her post coincides with the start of National Ice Cream Month.

There are so many reasons to celebrate all summer long! Today Val is sharing with us her recipe for homemade ice cream. In addition, I’m sharing links for two of my favorite ice cream toppings: Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce and Strawberry Ice Cream Topping.

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Recipe by Val Plagge


  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 quart Half & Half
  • ½-gallon whole milk


  1. Whisk eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and Half & Half together; pour into canister.
  2. Then pour whole milk to the fill line.
  3. Put canister into ice cream bucket with ice and ice cream salt around canister.
  4. Let run 30 to 40 minutes until it’s thick and smooth. Enjoy!


COOK’S TIPS: Val’s top two tips to make perfect Homemade Ice Cream:

  1. You have to use a good quality vanilla. I feel like you can never go wrong with Watkins Vanilla.
  2. You need to use a classic, 4 qt. or 6 qt., electric ice cream maker like this one. In my opinion, the older, the better. I actually use a hand-me-down ice cream maker that my in-laws got at the beginning of their marriage. Now that we’re done with the tips, it’s time to dive into a delicious bowl of Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream!