Are you ready for a sweet treat?

Hokie Tracks, the first ice cream of the Hokie Nation, is now available at grocery stores and specialty shops across Virginia. Released in ice cream shops and restaurants last fall, Virginia Tech alumni, students, friends, and fans can now find pints of the Hokie-inspired delicacy near them using Homestead Creamery’s product finder tool.  

Born out of a collaboration between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ nationally ranked Department of Food Science and Technology and the award-winning Homestead Creamery in nearby Burnt Chimney, Virginia, Hokie Tracks is the latest example of Virginia Tech’s commitment to bringing innovative, world-class research to market for the benefit of not only the commonwealth, but also for its students.

This creamy vanilla ice cream swirled with a ribbon of salted caramel and dark chocolate-covered pretzel chunks was developed from the ground up by Hokies for Hokies. Department of Food Science and Technology faculty members Joell Eifert ’88, M.S. ’14 and Brian Wiersema ’98 worked with Homestead’s team on Hokie Tracks’ flavor profile and recipe development to create something worthy of its namesake. 

“We were looking to find a flavor combination that covered most of the taste sensations, and we really wanted an ooey gooey decadent flavor so it had to have some chocolate in it,” said Eifert, Hokie Tracks co-creator and educational extension specialist. “I’ve worked with Homestead in the past and knew they’d be the perfect partner for this endeavor. Just using their ice cream base is a great start to a great ice cream.”

Homestead Creamery — a small, locally owned dairy processing plant seated among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains — has been serving up gourmet milk, ice cream, custard, eggnog, and more along the East Coast since 2001. Its dedication to locally sourced, quality ingredients and sustainability made it the ideal partner to team up with Virginia Tech to craft a Hokie ice cream. 

Hokie Tracks is the first flavor to result from Virginia Tech’s partnership with Homestead Creamery, but those who are already fans will be excited to know that additional flavors are in development and planned for release in the near future.

Loading player for

Hokie Tracks has been available for purchase at Cassell Coliseum since last winter, but students now have a new way to get their hands on it on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. Starting March 30, Dining Services — which already offers Homestead’s ice cream at its Deet’s Place dipping station — will begin serving up scoops of Hokie Tracks as well. Students will also be able to grab pints of the ice cream to go from Dolci e Caffè at Turner Place, West End Market’s Grab and Gobble kiosk, Hokie Grill and Co., Owens Food Court, and Xpress Lane at Dietrick Hall. 

“Dining Services is so pleased to partner with Homestead to bring Hokie Tracks to our students and campus community,” said Ted Faulkner, assistant vice president for Dining, Housing, and Student Centers in Student Affairs. “We can’t wait to create lifetime fans at first taste by making it available in our dining locations.”

A percentage of the proceeds from sales of Hokie Tracks supports experiential learning opportunities, scholarships and more in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Consistently recognized as one of the top food science institutions in the country for its focus on hands-on learning and near 100 percent career placement rate, the department ranks 9th on Successful Student’s list of the 10 best bachelor’s in food science and nutrition programs in the country and 8th on its list of best master’s in food science programs.

"As an alum, it's really great that we got to make this product that allows Hokies to support other Hokies," said Brian Wiersema, the pilot plant manager who also co-created the ice cream. "It doesn't hurt that it's also delicious. I'm excited to see people grab a spoon and dig into a pint for the first time."  

The new pint container label design features university trademarks, including the word Hokie and the Hokie Tracks marks, which represent the footprints of Virginia Tech’s beloved mascot, the HokieBird. The design was created by Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing Graphic Designer Shanin Glenn in collaboration with Homestead Creamery.

Hokies looking to enjoy the ice cream in the company of fellow Hokies will have plenty of opportunities. Hokie Tracks will be featured at a number of upcoming Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus events, including the Black Alumni Reunion, Alumni Weekend, Hokie Focus, the April 15 spring football game, and Spring Family Weekend.

Share this story