Frozen desserts in Maitland and Winter Park have never been healthier. Ever since the introduction of Peak Season Pops to the Maitland and Winter Park farmer’s markets earlier this year, even the pickiest eaters are indulging in their daily serving of fruit.
Owner Jana Rice was unemployed when she had her first taste of a Mexican paleta. These gourmet popsicles are an age-old traditional Mexican frozen dessert originally made from fresh mountain top snow and local farm fruit. Her first taste inspired her to bring her own kind of nutritional pop to her Maitland community.
“My goal was to feed locally and source all ingredients locally,” said Jana, a former health educator. “It makes everything taste so much better.”
So for the first six months, Jana and her husband, Steven Rice, a former professional chef, creatively experimented in the kitchen using only five ingredients or less for each flavor.
“I don’t use any stabilizers or preservatives — it’s all freshly popped,” Jana said.
Today Peak Season Pops has nearly 80 different flavors on their menu — all taste approved by their 4-year-old daughter, Marin.
The only exception to this, Jana says, are the spicy pops such as the mango lime chili, spiced pineapple or dark chocolate chili, which are also on the menu.
Currently, the creamy key lime pie, chocolate sea salt and strawberry flavors are served all year round, while other pops such as the mango lassi or Florida cantaloupe ginger are limited-time summer flavors.
Peak Season Pops can be found at the Winter Park and Maitland farmers markets and other local special events. Pops can be purchased one for $3 or two for $5. Visit Peakseasonpops.com for more information.
“I’m not a fan of key lime pie, but I love this pop,” said Brenda Defoe, a returning Peak Season Pops customer who enjoyed a key lime pie pop at the Maitland Farmers Market recently.
Andy Dugard, co-owner of Eat More Produce in Winter Park, agreed.
“Jana has exceeded my expectations,” he said. “The key lime pie is second to none.”
Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying these cold treats. Recently Peak Season Pops introduced a new line of dog pops featuring homemade hormone-free chicken broth, organic peanut butter, beef jerky and a yogurt-based pop to appeal to a variety of four-legged taste buds.
Often, Jana said, people don’t realize that she makes every pop herself. But when she does get the opportunity to talk about the pops with her customers, she enjoys educating people about where their food is coming from and how it got to be what it is.
If a customer isn’t happy with a flavor, such as the more adventurous avocado lime, Jana will happily switch it until they find a pop they love. In the end, she said, it’s about pleasing palates.