This article was originally published in the 2019 Summer issue of Invest In Style Magazine.

 

Janet Dimond, Owner and Chief Bottle Washer of Augie’s Ice Pops, got the idea for her gourmet popsicles after a trip to the US where a vendor selling flavoured shaved-ice caught her eye on the streets of Austin, Texas. The increasing popularity of street food hadn’t escaped her – “I love the feel of it, the authenticity of it” – and she realized that Toronto’s hot summers didn’t, at that time, offer any fun street food. With more than 25 years in the food industry, as a server, restaurant manager, caterer and new product consultant, Janet was well prepared to start her business: “All of my work background came into play. It was like I’d been practicing all those years to start this business.”

 

 

Augie’s Ice Pops are made with fresh Ontario produce (in season) as well as tropical fruit – sweetened with organic cane sugar, Ontario honey, or maple syrup. Throughout the summer, two dozen flavours are on rotation, including: wild blueberry citrus, strawberry basil lemonade, cucumber lime and chili, and watermelon lemon and mint. “Our brand is super tasty fruit popsicles,” explains Janet. “My goal is high quality local product, and we make the fruit the star. We also do cream and dairy – Vietnamese coffee and Belgian chocolate cream are amazing.”

 

Janet and her staff (six fulltime in the summer) are always thinking up new taste combos. Adrianne Kulling, long-time Augie’s employee, came up with the idea for their bubble-gum flavour (dried beet to make these pops pink). It’s now a kid favourite and, says Janet, “parents love it because it’s all fruits and vegetables.” The ‘Artist Series’ of Augie’s Ice Pops was developed in consultation with local artists who created colourful patterns for flavour layers. Last summer, the theme for this limited-edition series was women artists in history. The Mary Pratt version even garnered a tweet from the famous Canadian artist’s daughter: “my mom would have loved that!”

 

 

What began as a corner stand at a neighbourhood yard sale in 2011 is now a thriving business. Augie’s Ice Pops are available in fine food stores across the GTA, including Pusateri’s, Whole Foods, The Big Carrot, Fiesta Farms, and Fresh & Wild, and at a variety of boutique shops, summer festivals and farmers’ markets.

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