A feel-good treat to beat the heat: Oxsicles Popsicles

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by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

A week before “the entire country shut down,” Elizabeth Speed signed the papers and became the new owner of Oxsicles, an Oxford popsicle staple since 2017. While the business usually thrives on outdoor events in the area like Double Decker and Watermelon Carnival, Speed had to adapt. Luckily, the previous owner, Lauren Klimetz, set her up for success and taught her everything she learned in her years owning the company.

Speed has five year-round coolers throughout Oxford, Houston, Corinth and New Albany, and has been able to set up at farmer’s markets throughout the summer — just in time to help her customers try to beat the heat.

Equipped with a cookbook of about 50 popsicle recipes, Speed tries to keep 10 flavors on rotation, and uses seasonal, local produce whenever possible. The 10 flavors she chooses depend on what’s available.

“When I can get local peaches, local watermelon, local blueberries, I do those flavors,” she said. “But then I can also freeze peaches, blueberries, watermelon … then continue to make it after the season has passed.”

Speed uses honey, agave or coconut sugar for her popsicles, so processed sugars never touch her product. They’re also free from preservatives and dyes, are gluten-free, and most are dairy free (though some flavors contain yogurt, but will be specified).

Being able to stand behind her product is important for Speed, who became a Food Corp Service Member in 2016. As a part of the program, she went into the school districts to teach kids about choosing healthy foods, gardening, cooking and nutrition. Eventually, she would even teach youth cooking classes for a stint through the Oxford Park Commission. For a food that’s so often marketed toward children, she said it’s important to her that it’s a healthy treat.

“We have a lot of children who enjoy our popsicles,” she said. “Because (the popsicles are) all natural and they’re sweetened with non-refined sugar, it’s a healthy treat that they can enjoy without the parent or the caregiver feeling guilty for giving them a sweet treat when they get home from school or if they have a sore throat.”

Oxsicles even looks out for its four-legged friends, as their “pupsicle” is solely comprised of peanut butter, bananas and a non-rawhide chew.

“I know that it’s made with good-quality, natural ingredients, so that I feel good about what I’m giving people,” Speed said. “That’s been nice to be able to make people happy, especially in this time where (everything’s) a little bit upside down.”

Speed is a mother of two sons, 9 and 12, who get to be her taste testers. She joked that it’s “a very hard job” for them. Speed uses fruits and vegetables for coloring (spinach is the colorant for the green apple popsicle), and said it’s a great way to potentially slide by kids’ prenotions about vegetables.

“It’s not to be sneaky, because I tell my kids what’s in it,” she said. “But children who may have an aversion to certain vegetables or fruit, still have a healthy treat and it’s just kind of a good way to get in the little extra nutrition.”

 

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