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It should come as no surprise that the best chocolate ice cream in the U. S. is made in Rockford, at Muller-Pinehurst Dairy. The name Muller has been linked in people's minds with high quality, wholesome dairy products since 1900, when local dairy farmer L. Fred Muller began delivering milk to Rockford area homes in a one-horse wagon."We make our chocolate ice cream from scratch right here in Rockford," says Jeffrey Fieldsend, Plant Manager of Muller-Pinehurst. "There's a unique process that we use immediately after packaging that gives it the flavor, quality, and texture that it's known for."Muller-Pinehurst's chocolate ice cream took first place at the 2015 World Dairy Expo's Championship Dairy Product Contest. Muller-Pinehurst has also won first place honors at this competition in the past, for its whipping cream and 2 percent chocolate milk.The dairy was first called Muller's, after its founder, in 1937. It became known as Muller-Pinehurst Dairy when Muller's merged with the nearby Pinehurst Farms in 1957. The company was run by descendants of the Muller family until the early 1980s, when it became a subsidiary of Carlinville, Illinois-based Prairie Farms Dairy, a 700-member dairy cooperative. The 90,000-square-foot main plant of Muller-Pinehurst is located at the northeast corner of the former Pinehurst Farms, at Ogilby and Montague Roads. Here, its 100 employees process the milk received from its suppliers (all members of the Midwest Dairy Association) into a full range of dairy products, including a variety of milks; whipping cream; half and half; buttermilk; and of course ice cream. A fleet of refrigerated trucks then delivers them to local grocery stores throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.Muller-Pinehurst also partners with the Northern Illinois Food Bank in the Milk2MyPlate Program, in which it delivers a weekly supply of fresh milk to participating food pantries.

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