Cold, sweet treats offer blessed relief from long, hot summers.
Written by Eileen Bailey | Illustrated by Sarah Mccullen
“August in Mississippi is different from July. As to heat, it is not a question of degree but of kind. July heat is furious, but in August the heat has killed even itself and lies dead over us.” — writer Elizabeth Spencer
Summer in the South is unlike any other beast there is. It is formidable and unforgiving, sticky and sultry, relentless and ravaging. Yet, at the same time, it comes as no surprise. It is an expected three- to four-month guest tolerated by most of us while warmly welcomed by others.
Thankfully, there are ways to beat the summer heat, including enjoying sweet and delicious treats served up cold. To help in your search for such, here are some suggestions.
Magnolia Creamery | Tupelo
The shaved ice from Magnolia Creamery is more than a quick respite from the Mississippi summer heat. It is the foundation for a memory, something children and adults alike can remember years from now.
Magen Bynum of New Albany has been a vital part of the northeast Mississippi community through her business, Magnolia Soap and Bath Company, which has five locations and is expanding to include five more. While the soap company is important, Bynum felt there was something missing. In the spring she began to think about starting a business that included something else she loved — shaved ice. Her selection of shaved ice is expansive and includes fun flavors such as Shark Attack, a blue concoction topped with gummy sharks, and Cookie Monster, chocolate-flavored shaved ice decorated with tiny chocolate chip cookies. Children have been flocking to the converted pink-and-white Shasta camper on Market Center Road, in the parking lot near Old Navy in Tupelo just off North Gloster. Bynum said since they opened three weeks ago it has been “crazy busy.”
One fan is Anna Umfress, 10, of Mantachie. Anna and other family members were treated to the cool, sweet treats by her aunt. She chose the Cookie Monster shaved ice.
“It is really good,” she said.
Bynum, 33, said there are many shaved ice and snow cone businesses in northeast Mississippi but she wanted to do something different. Enter specialty ice-cream treats with unique names. In addition to Cookie Monster and Shark Attack, other flavors include Shaggy Shake, Mermaid and Reese’s Lover. Bynum said she had seen similar specialty treats along the Gulf Coast and wanted to add her own twist, such as one with a blueberry doughnut on top.
About two months before Magnolia Creamery opened, Bynum started an Instagram page. Now their stories and photos feature many of the cooling treats they offer. The popularity of the business, combined with a supportive customer base, has Bynum starting the renovation of three more campers to be operational in other parts of northeast Mississippi. One will be in Oxford; one will be in Southaven. The third location has not yet been determined.
“This has been a true blessing,” she said. “This has exceeded all of our expectations. We wanted to create something that would provide customers with memories and experiences they will remember.”
For hours and shaved ice flavors, check out Magnolia Creamery on Facebook and @magnoliacreamery1 on Instagram.
PoPsy | Tupelo
Cool treats made with fresh local fruits and vegetables have been drawing crowds to PoPsy in Tupelo for years. PoPsy was founded by Chance Beck. Today, the North Spring Street business is owned by Missy Coleman, a Kentucky native who moved to Tupelo 10 years ago. Coleman had been a customer at PoPsy for years.
“I was obsessed,” she said. “I would buy them by the bag and hide them in the freezer for the kids.”
At first she wanted to partner with Beck, but the chance to purchase PoPsy presented itself two years ago. Coleman continued to serve the popular fruit creations, many made from fruits and vegetables grown locally. Those favorites include strawberry, strawberry-lemonade, birthday cake, cookies and cream, and Key lime pie.
Coleman decided to add her own touches to provide additional refreshing treats. So smoothies and acai bowls were added. These items also use fresh ingredients. They are so popular that Coleman said people buy them in bulk and freeze them at home.
Amanda Stewart, manager for PoPsy, said many customers love the various fresh fruits used in the bowls. Early in the summer, she said, they were using fresh peaches from Cherry Creek Orchard. One customer comes in once a day to order the bowls and loves the peach. In addition to sweet and cooling treats, PoPsy also offers wraps for lunch and homemade soups in the cooler months. Additional flavors for the ice pops are added based on what produce is currently in season.
In addition to the store front, Coleman said they still provide two mobile carts and even have PoPsy Yeti coolers for parties and other events.
For more information about PoPsy, call 662-269-2641 or check out their Facebook page and @popsypopsicles on Instagram.
Oxsicles | Oxford
Oxsicles, an Oxford purveyor of ice-cold, healthy treats made to sooth a sweet tooth without added sugars, is now under the ownership of Elizabeth Anderson Speed.
Speed is no stranger to Oxsicles. In past years, she helped founder Lauren Klimetz sell the treats at farmers markets during the summer. Klimetz first created Oxsicles four years ago while on a mission to find a natural and healthier ice pop alternative for her children; her pursuit developed into a business.
Speed, who took ownership of the business June 29, was drawn to the idea of Oxsicles by the treats’ wholesome ingredients. They are made without food coloring, preservatives or additives of any kind.
There are no processed sugars, soy, dairy or gluten.
“There is nothing artificial; it’s all natural,” she said. “And it’s still a beautiful product, it tastes great, and it’s good for you. I really appreciate that.”
There’s no brick-and-mortar storefront for Oxsicles, but the sweet treats can be found in freezers at Chicory Market and The Lily Pad in Oxford; Pizza Grocery in Corinth; Mary Margaret’s Bakery in New Albany; and The Trendy House in Houston. Oxsicles can be found at local farmers markets and public events, and you can hire the cart to be brought to your private function.
As a special treat during the time of social distancing, Speed has been offering — for a few hours at a time — neighborhood pop-ups, where residents can stop by for an Oxsicle.
Speed’s two boys are longtime fans of Oxsicles and, like most folks, they have their personal favorites. Ten-year-old Andy likes the Chocolate, Peanut, Cherry (imagine a chocolate-covered cherry dipped in peanuts), while his 13-year-old brother, Jack, likes Blue Grape, but also likes to try some of the more unusual offerings, said their mother, who prefers Creamy Peach.
Strawberry remains a popular flavor. It’s simple really, strawberries, lemon and local honey. Chocolate is also popular, though it is anything but simple: cacao, avocados, vanilla bean, agave, coconut sugar, coconut oil, coconut milk.
Klimetz is quite sure Speed will have continued success.
“I know the new owner of Oxsicles will take this wonderful company that I love to new heights,” she said.
To request an Oxsicle pop-up in your neighborhood, place orders and learn more about the wholesome frozen treats, search “Oxsicles” on Facebook, follow @oxsicles on Instagram and visit oxsicles.com. Or, contact Speed at 662-801-0753 or email@example.com.
Sno Biz | Oxford
For 25 years, Sno Biz in Oxford has been serving up shaved ice treats to customers. The curbside business, located at 1131 North Lamar, started as a way for John Sherman to combat the summer downtime as an educator and coach. Sherman said he saw a “for sale” sign pop up in the window in 1995, and after many phone calls, he became the proud owner. Sherman said his business has something for everyone with the variety of items they offer.
The Greenville native said they started out with shaved ice. The No. 1 flavor is a homemade ice cream flavor, he said.
“It tastes just like the ice cream you get out of the ice cream machines you use in the summer,” he said. “You can’t tell a difference.”
The second most popular flavor is wedding cake, Sherman said. For the younger crowd, blue raspberry is a big hit.
In addition to shaved ice, Sherman said they offer Blue Bell ice cream, milkshakes and malts, sundaes, Coke and root beer floats and blended iced-coffee concoctions. All will provide a much-needed cool down in the Mississippi heat.
And for those in search of more heat, Sherman offers Delta tamales.
With COVID-19, this has not been a normal year. Sherman said Sno Biz normally opens in mid-March, but he waited until mid-April to follow shelter-in-place guidelines. He closed the picnic tables, and people are able to practice social distancing in line in front of the business.
“I told the mayor my business wasn’t physically essential but we were mentally essential for our customers,” he said.
Sno Biz is open seven days a week from 1 to 7 p.m. Follow them @SnoBizoxford on Facebook, or call in orders to 662-832-8889.
Summer Tyme Sno | Corinth
Angela Gilliam of Corinth said her shaved ice creations don’t taste like others. Gilliam, who has owned the business since 2005, puts her own spin on her creations, from making the flavors to making the shaved ice itself. Located at 1206 S. Cash St., the lime green brick-and-mortar business has a walk-up window and a drive-thru.
Summer Tyme Sno is Gilliam’s second shaved ice business. The first she purchased was in Tennessee shortly after she graduated high school in 1999. Since opening her shaved ice business, Gilliam has started to see different generations of families coming back, and her customer base ranges across several states.
“I have customers who come from Memphis, Tupelo and Florence,” she said. “Some customers are so faithful that you know what they want when they pull up.”
The top seller at Summer Tyme is called Silver Fox, which tastes like a vanilla snow cream. Customers, she said, take this flavor “very seriously, and they love it.” Other best sellers include strawberry cheesecake, wedding cake, grape, strawberry, Tiger’s Blood and watermelon.
For more information and choices, search “Summer Tyme Sno-Corinth limegreen building” on Facebook and check out their page.
Dairy Kream | Tupelo
Dairy Kream, a Tupelo staple, has been open and providing sweet, cool treats to generations of residents. Amanda Malone, manager of the drive-up, said she has pictures of herself sitting at the picnic tables eating ice cream when she was about 3 or 4 years old.
“We have provided memories for generations of families,” she said. “It is an old-fashioned local business.”
And it’s one that is part of the history of Tupelo. Gene Knight is the owner of the 796 East Main St. landmark.
Since the 1950s, Dairy Kream has offered sweet treats to help cool down on those sweltering summer days. Malone said one milkshake that tops the list of favorites is the purple cow, whose ingredients include grape soda and ice cream along with other flavors. Dipped cones also are big sellers for the business. Milkshakes, malts and sundaes also top the list of go-to confectionery treats to help beat the heat. A variety of other foods are also sold. Dairy Kream does not accept credit or debit cards. Walk up to order, or call 662-842-7838 to order in advance.
Food Truck Frenzy
For those in search of a full meal or more substantial snack, you will find a variety of food trucks around northeast Mississippi with myriad menu options, including:
Jake’s Craft BBQ
305 Jackson Ave. West
In addition to barbecue, owner Jake Houston offers a “Sammie of the Day” and tacos. For more information, call 662-801-3752.
Taylor Grocery Food Truck
1933 University Ave.
Catfish plates with hushpuppies and fries, catfish taco plates, chicken tenders, shrimp, barbecue sandwiches, barbecue nachos and more. Find menus and specials on Facebook, at taylorgrocerycatering.com, or call 662-701-9877.
For almost seven years, Curt McLellan’s big blue truck has rolled out his Cajun-flair food in Tupelo and Lee County. Follow Local Mobile on social media for daily locations and menus.
The Gypsy Food Truck
Owners Katy Pruett and Mickey Fratesi offer daily staples such as a grilled bohemian burger, fresh pimiento cheese and the Fratesi Italian salad. Popular specials are spicy crawfish nachos and Philly cheese steak tacos. For locations and menu, follow the truck on social media or call 662-820-9940.
Owners Jennifer Brignac and Johnny Cook offer a daily food menu, which includes their award-winning fresh, hand-cut Idaho potato “FatBoy” fries, coated in a special blend batter, and burgers and Philly cheese steak sandwiches served on low-carb bread. For more inofrmation, follow “Jo’s Cafe food truck” on Facebook or call 228-342-0636.
1141 West Main St.
Juan Carlos Acosta and his employees provide authentic Mexican staples including tacos, quesadillas and tortas. Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Find them on Facebook or call 662-231-2234.
Edible Bliss Mobile Eatery
Gourmet meets comfort food in Chicago native Marshandria Grice’s food truck that serves up egg rolls in a variety of flavors, including Philly cheese steak, taco and vegetarian options. For times, menu and locations, search “MS Edible Bliss” on Facebook or call 662-706-4647.
If it’s wings that you crave, Grandma’s Hands in Corinth offers a variety of flavors daily. For locations and daily offerings, call 901-376-4651.
Located in the old Fred’s parking lot near Shiloh and Harper Road, D’Shy’s is an old trolley converted into a food truck. Owner Frederick Mays has been selling tamales for 13 years. Call 662-643-8114 for more information.
Creative tacos and burritos, including the Mississippi Burrito with fried catfish. To learn more, call 662-707-0075 or search for “Wiggly’s” on Facebook.
Six Peas Catering
“Fry-Day” dinners and Sunday brunch pop-ups. Search for “Six Peas Catering” on Facebook for dates, locations and menus.
Rosie’s Grab and Go
Rosie’s, which offers various hot sandwiches, from burgers to sausage dogs, is found in the parking lot of the Price Cutter/former Save A Lot in Pontotoc. Call 662-297-4714 for more information.
Goku Japanese Express
1615 University Ave.
Located behind the Dollar General on Highway 15, Goku offers grilled Japanese. Open 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3-8:30 p.m. Friday; and noon-8:30 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 662-736-2212.