Poll: Blue Bell trucks are on the road again — will you buy their ice cream?

Embattled Texas-based ice cream brand Blue Bell on Tuesday posted a video of delivery trucks hitting the road in Alabama. Last week, a company spokesperson said that the creamery’s Sylacauga, Ala., production facility had been cleared to resume producing ice cream for public consumption, and added that the Brenham facility will likely be the last plant to re-open.

Now that the Homemade Vanilla purveyors are sending trucks back out on the road, we want to know: Will you buy Blue Bell once it returns to shelves near you?

In previous Statesman polls about Blue Bell, results have been mixed. When the recall was first announced, 73 percent of respondents said that they were certain they would purchase Blue Bell products when they returned to stores; only 6 percent said that they would likely never purchase a pint again. As for the moderates: 17 percent said they were “very likely” to buy Blue Bell when the recall was over, and 4 percent were on the fence.

FILE - In this April 10, 2015 file photo, Blue Bell ice cream rests on a grocery store shelf in Lawrence, Kansas. In the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak in ice cream, the Justice Department is warning food companies that they could face criminal and civil penalties if they poison their customers. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
FILE – In this April 10, 2015 file photo, Blue Bell ice cream rests on a grocery store shelf in Lawrence, Kansas. In the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak in ice cream, the Justice Department is warning food companies that they could face criminal and civil penalties if they poison their customers. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

» RELATED COVERAGE: H-E-B expects Blue Bell will be back on shelves in mid-September

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released documents indicating that Blue Bell knew about traces of listeria at its Broken Arrow, Okla., production facility as far back as March 2013, confidence among readers who took our follow-up poll plummeted: 49 percent said they would certainly buy again; 13 percent said they were very likely to do so; 14 percent said they were on the fence; and 24 percent said Blue Bell had likely lost them as a customer.

Food writer Addie Broyles also asked readers what brand of ice cream they had been eating since the recall, and ended up finding out that people weren’t giving up on Blue Bell just yet. (But a lot of Texans are eating HEB’s Creamy Creations in the meantime, she also found.)

Happy National Iced Tea Day, Austin!

Everything has its own national day now, so why not that most revered of beverages, that summer stalwart, the noble iced tea?

(Photo by Renee Brock/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
(Photo by Renee Brock/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NPR’s The Salt posted a fascinating history of the steeped marvel in honor of today’s National Iced Tea Day, which points out that the beverage was popularized right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Ice was quite the luxury in the 1800s before refrigeration technology came onto the scene, NPR notes, so when Yankee entrepreneurs began shipping ice down to the South, it was quite the game changer.

Also: Iced tea started out a little more Long Island than Mississippi porchfront. From NPR:

“Early recipes had more in common with the booze-laden Long Island iced tea than the stuff Lipton sells. Indeed, Americans were drinking iced tea in the form of alcohol-drenched punches at least as far back as the Colonial era.”

Other drops of knowledge: Non-soused iced tea recipes didn’t appear much in print until 1876, and the drink really caught on at the particularly sultry 1904 World’s Fair. (The beverage of the future!) Prohibition, predictably, also gave iced tea a boost in visibility, NPR says, as did the gradual affordability of the leaves themselves.

No doubt you’re thirsty now. Here are a few of our staff’s favorite spots to grab a tall glass of chilled leaf-water:

  • I guzzle a lot of glasses of iced black tea at Thunderbird Coffee, as well as the cold stuff at Pei Wei Asian Diner. Don’t laugh: mix the iced chai and green teas together. Also a quencher: the hibiscus fizz at Magnolia Cafe, or the straight-up hibiscus at Milto’s. (I’m also partial to the sweet tea pie at Lucy’s Fried Chicken, but that’s neither here nor there.)
  • Assistant online news editor Gabrielle Muñoz is a traditionalist, favoring the Southern-style stuff at Threadgill’s.
  • Editorial writer Alberta Phillips says Eastside Cafe’s hibiscus iced tea, with a twist of mint, can’t be beat.
  • Director of photography Nell Carroll makes her own Arnold Palmers at Central Market’s cafe drink fountain.
  • Social media editor Jackie Stone is a fan of Nile Valley Teas, brewed at many restaurants around town, and also available at local farmers markets.
  • Tech columnist Omar Gallaga swears by the home of the big iced tea travel mug, Bill Miller BBQ.
  • Westlake Picayune/Lake Travis View editor Ed Allen prefers the same tea favored by many Texans on Sunday lunch: Luby’s, which he says always makes him go for a refill.
  • Features editor Sharon Chapman wouldn’t be caught dead without a bottle of Sweet Leaf Half & Half, a local darling available at fine grocers and gas stations near you.
  • Speaking of bottled tea, we also recommend an Austin favorite that’s closer to iced tea’s alcoholic origins: Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka.
  • If you’ve got the time to brew your own in celebration, try this recipe for Zhi’s Sparkling Jasmine Iced Tea, which parenting columnist Nicole Villalpando introduced us to in 2013.

Know of a better place to get your tall, cold glass of relief? Let us know in the comments. Happy sipping, Austin.

Y’all, brisket is getting cheaper

Sink your teeth into this, frugal foodies: After a climbing since 2013, the wholesale price of brisket is falling, according to Texas Monthly’s TMBBQ.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, via the magazine’s smoked-meat-centric platform, writes that it will take a little while for retail prices to reflect the decrease in wholesale costs. On the other hand, according to the blog post, the price of beef overall is still around its peak.

(Photo by Laura Skelding/American-Statesman)
(Photo by Laura Skelding/American-Statesman)

Why? TMBBQ quotes Gary Morrison, a beef market reporter:

 “We have not seen the burst in interest for barbecue heading into the demand period that we saw last year.”

In other words, big chains aren’t buying up as much brisket as they have been, and Vaughn predicts that will be good bottom-line news for independent barbecue joints. Read more at TMBBQ.