Vendors pushing carts filled with frozen treats are a common sight in Mexico and this country. And, as the Hispanic population grows here, so grows the number of stores selling those icy fruit treats.
Flor de Michoacan shops, as they are generally known, are as recognizable in Mexico as Dairy Queen is in this country.
Adam and Nathan Hatch, who grew up in Casas Grande, Chihuahua, are proprietors of the bustling frozen fruit treat shop on Main Street in Mesa. Descendants of Mormon colonists who moved to Mexico in the 1880s, the Hatches came to the Valley to work in the concrete business four years ago. They soon saw flavored ice treats as both a business opportunity and a way out of the intense sun.
"We make everything on site," said Adam, who owns and operates Flor de Michoacan with his brother.
The process starts at 9 a.m. with the chopping and pureeing of large quantities of fruit. Then comes the concocting. Fruit, sugar and water is the simple formula for some. Others include cream. Price for both is $1.
At the end of the day, 1,000 to 2,000 treats are made in 42 flavors.
"The real popular flavors are the coconut cream, mango cream, banana cream and peach cream," Adam said. Other favorites are pineapple, watermelon, canteloupe, guava and lime.
These treats rose to popularity in the 1940s, a product of brothers who opened a store in Mexico City. The delicious reputation grew rapidly. In Casas Grande, a town of 100,000, there are now at least a dozen of them, Adam said.
While a steady stream of frozen treats goes out the Flor de Michoacan door, 6 p.m. is when business really heats up — or cools down, as the case may be.
"We have people come up from Tucson, from Avondale and from Glendale," Adam said. Styrofoam containers hold up to 20 treats for longdistance runs.
That they taste good and help the body stay hydrated this time of year is a plus. But throw the product’s fresh fruit nutrients in the mix and you have a win-win dessert — consumed in moderation, of course.
"They are a better alternative to Kool-Aid or Popsicles made with corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors only," Scottsdale nutritionist Amy Hall said.