Wells “Blue Bunny” celebrating birthday today

(Radio Iowa) – The largest family-owned ice cream producer in the United States is celebrating its centennial.

One-hundred years ago today Fred H. Wells started up a dairy operation in Le Mars, Iowa. Wells had a horse, a delivery wagon, a few cans and jars and he distributed milk to local customers from a dairy farmer — for the agreed upon price of $250. Around 1925, the company started to produce ice cream.

Today, the company is known by the name of Wells Enterprises. Its signature product is “Blue Bunny” ice cream. The company employs more than 2500 people and operates three production facilities — two in Le Mars and a third at St. George, Utah. The company makes more than 70 flavors of ice cream and its products are distributed nationwide. Wells Enterprises produces over 120 million gallons of ice cream annually.

The “Blue Bunny” name came from a 1935 contest won by a Sioux City man who noticed how much his son enjoyed blue bunnies in a department store window at Easter time.