January 13, 2009

Ice cream brings jobs to Mexican town

A town of 1,500 people in southern Mexico has found its fortune in ice cream.

German Espinoza, the administrator in Tocumbo, told USA Today that 90 percent of the families are in the ice-cream business in some way: making ice cream, selling ice cream or distributing equipment to make ice cream. Its success has helped keep people in the state of Michoacan, because they have an alternative to joining the exodus to the United States.

When you think of how many jobs this town has created, it's truly impressive, Espinoza said, describing Tocumbo as an international phenomenon.

Exports of ice cream are on the rise, largely because of demand from expatriate Mexicans. The ice cream is sold under the Michoacan brand, which is free to anyone in the state with a store and the wherewithal to make ice cream.

Michoacan ice cream is known for its varied flavors, from papaya to avocado to sweet corn.

Norma Barragan, manager of a Flower of Tocumbo shop in the main plaza, said the ingredients of the avocado ice cream are simple.

Cream, sugar and fresh avocados, she told a customer. What, you were expecting something artificial? This is the original stuff here.