Popsicles don't need to be boring, just for kids, or only eaten during the sweltering days of summer.
Just ask Marie and Avinash Soochit. The mother and son team behind Cafe Bel-Air are having a tough time keeping their specialty frozen treats in stock after they recently won an award from the Alberta Farmers' Market Association.
"These are not your regular sugar and water tongue stainers," Avinash told CBC's Radio Active on Friday. "They're actually made of fresh fruits that are in season, and we try to buy our fruits from local markets. In (the) summertime we go to various you-pick farms and we pick our own berries. Strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons.
"We use fresh fruits that are in season, so right now you're not going to get a cherry popsicle."
"Friends love them, neighbours love them, and they encouraged us to start selling in the farmers market." - Avinash Soochit
Avocado, coconut lime, strawberry lemonade and cold-brew coffee are just some of the 80 flavours they've made and sold at City Market downtown since launching their popsicle business in February of last year.
One woman regularly stops by with her own cooler and buys 20 of the avocado popsicles at a time, Marie said.
Popsicles a tropical treat from Mauritius
The Soochits are from the tropical island of Mauritius, where the fresh, frozen treats are a staple. Marie used to make them for her sons, sometimes even hiding vegetables in them.
Avinash, who's currently in medical school, missed his mother's sweet treats. He bought her a popsicle mold off Amazon, and the rest is history.
"She started (making them), and friends love them, neighbours love them, and they encouraged us to start selling in the farmers market," Avinash said.
At first, they got some "weird looks" for selling frozen treats in the middle of winter, Avinash said, and some days they only sold five popsicles at the farmer's market. But the flavourful and fresh treats eventually caught on. They partnered with Meals On Wheels last year, donating one dollar for each popsicle sold. They raised $260.
The family now makes about 800 popsicles in various flavours each week. They sell for $2.50 each.
A sweet business
The award, won in the "Make It, Bake It, Grow It" category, was a big honour, Marie said, adding they've got big plans for the business' future.
Marie said she dreams of selling her treats in Churchill Square. Avinash said he'd love to find a commercial kitchen so his mother can make even more popsicles.
"We still want to keep it small though, because we use fresh fruits," he said. "If we become really big, we'll run out of fruits."