The real scoop on the cold from Perry's Ice Cream

Workers at Perry's Ice Cream in Akron, NY palletizing ice cream in the freezer, which is a minus 18 degree room.
Workers at Perry's Ice Cream in Akron, NY palletizing ice cream Photo credit Perry's Ice Cream

AKRON, N.Y. (WBEN) A blast of arctic air has Buffalo Bills fans going to extra lengths to stay warm this weekend. Who better to get some advice from than the folks who work in the freezer at Perry's Ice Cream in Akron, NY.

"Everyday we have over 50 people working in the freezer, in a minus 18 degree room. The wind chill is probably about minus 22 or 23. It's cold all the time," said Brian Perry, Executive Vice President of Perry's Ice Cream.

"A palletizer takes the ice cream off the line and palletizes it to be stored. Then we have the loaders, who load the trucks and lift operators that are moving the product around. They're in there for about an hour to an hour and a half. Then they come out for ten or fifteen minutes."

Perry says the difference between Bills fans sitting at the stadium and his workers in the freezer, is that his people are moving all the time. "Believe it or not, a lot of our workers don't even wear the full freezer suit (similar to a snowmobile suit) because they're staying warm from moving around so much."

Perry adds that a lot of them come out of the freezer and they're sweating.

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There's one item of clothing that workers cannot go without. A good pair of gloves. That's followed by felt lined boots and he said hoodies are the most common piece of clothing that the workers like to wear.

Perry admits it's a lot different than regular warehouse work. And not everyone is cut out for this type of job. He says they don't have trouble filling the jobs and don't see a high turnover rate because these are entry level positions with the company. They eventually bid up on other jobs that are higher up in the company.

"We really don't lose many people," he said. "There are some who say I just can't do it. But not many. The gentleman who trained me worked for us for over 40 years in the freezer, doing the same job. It takes a certain type of person."

Why does the freezer have to be THAT cold? Perry explains that there is about 65% water in ice cream. Water melts. For water crystals not to melt in ice cream, you have to be at 18 to 20 below zero. "In your freezer at home, which is normally around zero or 5 below, the ice cream is slowly melting everyday," he said.

Perry's, a fourth generation, family-owned ice cream company has been making ice cream at it's production facility in Akron for over 100 years.

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