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Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.

10 Delicious Facts about Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

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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

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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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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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