Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

10 Delicious Facts about Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

When the shiny, happy ice cream makers at Ben & Jerry’s decide to discontinue your favorite flavor, there are two things you can do: whine about it, or pay tribute to your preferred pint at the company’s Flavor Graveyard.

What began as an online-only ode to the Waterbury, Vermont-based company’s dearly departed pints (a.k.a. “the depinted”) in 1995 has become a real, live tourist attraction. Set peacefully on a hill behind the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, a visit to the Flavor Graveyard can be done independently of a factory tour (though the daily 30-minute tours do conclude with a tasting). We recently had the chance to pay our respects to the brand’s retired slate of pints, and learned 10 fun facts along the way.

1. THE FLAVOR GRAVEYARD OPENED IN 1997

Two years after the Flavor Graveyard made its digital debut, the sweet-toothed cemetery opened to the public. Its first official residents came during a mass burial of four flavors: Dastardly Mash (1979-1991), Economic Crunch (1987-1987), Ethan Almond (1988-1988), and Tuskegee Chunk (1989-1990). Today, it’s estimated that as many as 300,000 people visit the Flavor Graveyard each year.

2. 31 FLAVORS ARE CURRENTLY “BURIED” HERE

Don’t bother trying to dig up what might be the last known pint of your favorite flavor, as there’s nothing actually buried at the site itself—unless, according to a company spokesperson, you count “warm memories and cold reality.” Turtle Soup, Crème Brulee, and Fossil Fuel are its most recently interred flavors.

3. ETHAN ALMOND IS THE YOUNGEST RESIDENT

When it comes to short-lived flavors, Ethan Almond has its fellow residents beat. The flavor—vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered almonds—was never even sold as a pint. It was a bulk flavor, created specifically for the opening of Burlington, Vermont’s Ethan Allen Homestead Museum in 1987.

4. PEANUTS! POPCORN! AND CHOCOLATE COMFORT DIDN’T LAST LONG EITHER

Though both of these flavors did make it to grocery store shelves—Chocolate Comfort in 1999 and Peanuts! Popcorn! in 2000—both were laid to rest less than a year after their release.

5. THE HEADSTONES ARE MADE OF RESIN, FOR NOW

Though all of the graveyard’s headstones were initially made of resin, granite is taking over as the company’s material of choice. And they’re slowly replacing all of the original headstones at a rate of “a few” per year, according to a company spokesperson.

6. EACH FLAVOR GETS A CLEVER LITTLE EPITAPH

It’s the job of one of Ben & Jerry’s in-house copywriters to pay tribute to the growing list of retired flavors with a few poetic lines on the flavor’s passing. Sugar Plum, for example: "It swirled in our heads, it danced in our dreams, it proved not to be though, the best of ice creams."

7. WAVY GRAVY AND RAINFOREST CRUNCH ARE SORELY MISSED

Though they’ve recently revamped their website, ice cream lovers jonesing for a particular retired flavor were previously able to make their voices heard by casting a vote for the pints they most wanted to see resurrected. Two of the biggest vote-getters? Wavy Gravy and Rainforest Crunch.

8. WHITE RUSSIAN IS A ZOMBIE

After a decade of strong sales, Ben & Jerry’s reluctantly had to retire White Russian in 1996, but not because it wasn’t popular. The cost of the Kahlua-like flavoring that was used in its production became too prohibitive. But the customers spoke and White Russian was eventually resurrected, but only in Scoop Shops (sorry grocery store customers).

9. HOLY CANNOLI FOUND AN AFTERLIFE, TOO

Though Holy Cannoli spent only a year on shelves, the public outcry following its retirement was loud enough that the company’s flavor-makers decided to revisit the idea, but tweak its recipe. In 2012, they released a new take on the flavor—simply called Cannoli—as a limited batch, noting on their Facebook page, “We made a cannoli flavor with ricotta before and it bombed. It was called Holy Cannoli. This is a new take on it and we think it tastes better than Holy Cannoli did. We hope you do too!” (Maybe it was the pistachios.)

10. ECONOMIC CRUNCH LIVED UP TO ITS NAME

Flickr

The day after the stock market crash of November 6, 1987, Ben & Jerry’s sent a truck to Wall Street and began handing out free scoops of Economic Crunch ice cream to brokers and investment bankers. The truck was parked illegally, which didn’t please the NYPD. But the company was determined to finish the job: Each time the driver was asked to move, he’d drive around the block, park in the same space again, and continue scooping.

All images courtesy of Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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