BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has expanded its ice cream sales into north Louisiana, which will be followed in about a year by sales there of the dairy's milk.

President Jeff Kleinpeter said that by Tuesday 17 flavors of the company's ice cream will be in 600 new locations through its contract with Jones Distributing Co., of West Monroe, plus in some major chain grocers that Kleinpeter has access to.

Within the past two years, Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has increased its original Baton Rouge and New Orleans service area along the lengths of Interstates 10 and 12 as far west as Calcasieu Parish, and as far east as coastal Mississippi. The company began offering its ice cream in Lake Charles and Alexandria over the summer.

The company said the recent addition of an ice cream flavor called "Ruston Peach" inspired the move into north Louisiana.

"Having Ruston peaches in our ice cream, which already contains sugar from Louisiana sugarcane growers and milk from Louisiana cows, means our ice cream now has Louisiana ingredients from the coast all the way up to near the Arkansas state line," he said in a news release.

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy began making ice cream in 2007, in part as an outlet for the additional raw milk it produced. It soon began making a point of using Louisiana ingredients and aggressively marketing its flavors, which use Louisiana sugar cane, Bergeron Pecans, Ponchatoula strawberries, Bruce Foods' sweet potatoes, Community Coffee, Elmer's Gold Brick Eggs, Aunt Sally's Pralines and Louisiana-grown blueberries.

Kleinpeter, who was in Shreveport and Monroe on Wednesday to promote the company's ice cream, said about 20 percent of the dairy's milk goes to ice cream, and that it's at 75 percent of capacity for making ice cream and 65 percent for milk production.

He said the popularity of the ice cream will lead to an expansion of the dairy's packaging room by about 40 percent.

Once the ice cream has been in stores about a year, the company will begin using the same distribution network to bring its milk to the northern part of the state.

Kleinpeter Dairy has an 1,100-acre farm in Montpelier and also uses milk from 20 Louisiana dairies.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://www.2theadvocate.com

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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