Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends born four days apart in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. You could say that ice cream runs in their veins. During his senior year of high school, Ben drove an ice cream truck. After high school, he attended and dropped out of various colleges in the Northeast, eventually leaving his studies altogether to teach pottery on a working farm in New York's Adirondack region, where he also dabbled in ice cream-making.
Jerry started on a more traditional path. After graduating high school, he attended Oberlin College to study medicine, working as an ice cream scooper in the school’s cafeteria. Upon graduating, he returned to New York to work as a lab technician, while applying to medical school without success. During his lab tech days, he shared a Manhattan apartment with Ben. After moving to North Carolina for a few years, Jerry reunited with Ben in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and they decided to go into the food business together.
At first, the pair thought about making bagels but decided the necessary equipment was too expensive. Instead, they settled on ice cream. They decided Burlington, Vt., was an ideal location for a scoop shop because it was a college town without an ice cream parlor. They took a $5 course on ice-cream making and in 1978 opened the first Ben & Jerry’s in a converted Burlington gas station.more » « less