Two years ago, shortly after the birth of their daughter, Queon and Alicia J. (the surname they use professionally) were faced with a family member’s illness that led to a move from Massachusetts to Milton, Del. The experience gave them a renewed outlook on family and good health — and would ultimately lead to the creation of Delaware’s first artisan ice pop company.
“This is, first and foremost, a family company that has created a product out of love,” Queon said of Summer J., the ice pop company named after their now toddler daughter, Summer. “We want to give people something fun that’s still healthy. A frozen treat for all ages.”
What makes Summer J. ice pops artisanal? Well, they’re handcrafted from fresh fruit, they’re vegan, gluten free, dairy free and most are under 70 calories, sweetened with pure cane sugar (back in style after decades of fructose, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners).
It’s not all sweet treats. Giving to the community is an important part of the company’s mission. This summer, Queon and Alicia worked with youth in the City Of Wilmington’s bridge program at Bayard Middle School, teaching kids entrepreneurship and soft skills.
“We’ll continue to build both corporate and community partners to foster healthy communities throughout Delaware,” Queon said.
Next summer, the company plans to bring its pops to every single town Delaware — literally. Queon and Alicia are planning a 2018 Summer J. tour of the whole state.
For now, you’ll have to wait for an event or purchase one of their event packages to taste the pops, which range in flavors from classic lemonade (the most popular) to roasted peach and honey, lemon coconut and a spa line with flavors like cucumber mint and strawberry basil. They even offer alcohol-laced “spiked pops” for special events.
There’s one exception, though: the Delaware Local Food Exchange in Trolley Square has the first (and for now, only) Summer J. self-serve freezer. That’s just a few blocks from where I live, so I stopped by on a sweltering afternoon to pick up one of the $3 pops. Queon had told me that the pops had been featured in Lifetime’s Michael Jackson biopic because the crew couldn’t get enough of them (see above). Christiana Care is a client, J. said. Williams-Sonoma ordered 500 of them to give out at a Mother’s Day event at Christiana Mall.
I had to try one.
The strawberry lemonade pop is sweet, tart and satisfying, with a real ice pop consistency compared to the mushier “real fruit” pops at the grocery store (and it doesn’t turn your lips bright red like artificially dyed ice pops). I get the appeal.-30-
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