Perspectives Online

Campfire Delight is 4-H's centennial ice cream

The “cone-test” field was narrowed to three ice cream flavors, as a panel of esteemed judges armed with bowls and spoons, came together to choose the flavor that would mark the centennial celebration of North Carolina 4-H.

And the winner is… Campfire Delight!

4-H, North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s youth development and education program, is celebrating 100 years in North Carolina this year, and the organization decided to create a centennial ice cream flavor to in honor of the event. In conjunction with N.C. State University’s Creamery, which produces the already famed ice cream sold in Talley Student Center and at the N.C. State Fair, 4-H asked youth and leaders across the state to come up with winning flavors.

“Cone-test” rules required that the flavor selections be worthy of manufacturing, said Gary Cartwright, N.C. State Pilot Plant coordinator. From the 62 flavors submitted by counties last fall, the field was narrowed to 10. 4-H’ers and supporters across the state voted for the top three choices from the field.

The top flavors were Campfire Delight, submitted by Tyrrell County; 100 S’More Years submitted by Johnston County; and Clover Crunch, submitted by Gates County. Cartwright said that each flavor presented its own challenges, and creamery staff had to explore different ingredient options and how they would work. For instance, caramel pieces for Clover Crunch had to remain soft even in frozen ice cream.

Tyrrell County 4-H Agent Bridget Spruill (left) and 4-H'er Katie Woolard (center) receive their prize basket for submitting the winning 4-H ice cream flavor.
Marc Hall photos
By description, Campfire Delight and 100 S’More Years sounded like they would be variations on S’Mores, the campfire treat made with graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows. But Campfire Delight was made from graham cracker-flavored ice cream, with chocolate pieces and marshmallow swirl, while 100 S’More Years was created from a chocolate ice cream base, with pieces of graham cracker and the marshmallow swirl. Clover Crunch was a different type of flavor, with a chocolate ice cream, caramel swirl and toffee pieces.

The panel of 19 judges included Andrea Weigel, food editor of The News & Observer; Larry Stogner, news anchor of WTVD; CALS Dean Johnny Wynne; and three Wake County 4-H’ers, along with an assortment of other 4-H supporters and leaders.

The bowls came out, numbered to ensure a blind competition, and judges carefully tasted each sample. They judged texture, flavor and appearance of each ice cream and then ranked the flavors in order of preference.

All agreed that there was not a bad flavor in the bunch, and Cartwright said that the creamery reserves the right to occasionally produce all three flavors. The winning flavor will be available for sale to the public.

Andrea Weigl said this was her first opportunity to judge ice cream flavors, although she is no stranger to other types of food competitions. “The graham cracker ice cream was not something I’ve run into before. I’m not surprised it won,” she said.

“It was hard to pick a winner, but the one I picked was the winner,” Larry Stogner said. “They were all good.”

Campfire Delight
4-H’er judges Clay Adams, 6; Anna Walser, 6; and Morgan Halvorson, 8, all of Wake County, smiled broadly and pronounced all flavors, “really, really good.” “I just thought it was pretty good tasting,” Clay said.

Tyrrell County 4-H Extension Agent Bridget Spruill came to watch the cone-test judging with 4-H’er Katie Woolard, 12. After Campfire Delight was announced the winner, Katie called her mom, and Spruill called her county Extension director with the news. The two returned to the county with some ice cream samples to share, along with a basket of ice cream party supplies.

“The flavor was as good as I thought it would be,” Katie said.

The winning ice cream flavor will be made available to the public through the N.C. State Creamery. It also will be offered at all 4-H events throughout the year, as well as at the N.C. State Fair. To order the ice cream, available in pints and 3-gallon tubs, contact Sarah Ray at 919.515.9263 or To learn more about the 4-H Centennial, "We are 4-H," visit

-- Natalie Hampton