Veggie Wagon owners Max and April Sussman have launched a new product in time for the summer months: vegan ice cream.
Sussman said that as the Veggie Wagon has grown, so too has the demand for vegan and gluten-free products. For some time now, the company has put time and money into developing recipes that meet these requirements, but also meet its standards for taste and quality.
“You can make gluten-free and vegan products all day long, but the challenge is to come up with recipes that are truly delicious,” said Max Sussman. “Just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean they don’t want to enjoy a treat.”
In 2014 only 1 percent of U.S. consumers claimed to be vegan, and in 2017, that number rose to 6 percent, according to the Food Revolution Network and a report by research firm GlobalData.
Sussman said the Veggie Wagon’s goal has always been to create the best quality products for its customers, while utilizing as many local ingredients as possible. Sometimes, said Sussman, that means spending a considerable about of money to test recipes over and over again until they get them right.
“If we have to spend a little more to get the best ingredients and support other local producers and make good food, then we will do that because we believe we will eventually prosper,” said Sussman. “And if we put our best foot forward, our partners will as well and everyone wins.”
The Veggie Wagon’s vegan ice cream is prepared with an organic coconut milk base, organic agave and brown sugar and sea salt. Arrowroot powder is used to bind and thicken the ice cream, a process that Sussman describes as difficult.
“There’s really a science to getting the just the right texture, especially when incorporating ingredients like coffee,” said Sussman.
Current flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and coffee, made with beans from Island Roast Coffee of Carolina Beach.
“Now that we have perfected the base recipe, we can take what we’ve learned and incorporate more seasonal fruits throughout the year.” Sussman said. “This is definitely a treat that even non-vegans will enjoy.”
Additional seasonal specialties include organic fruit slushies, made with organic fruit purees and local honey, and cold pressed juices.
The Veggie Wagon is located at 3315 Masonboro Loop Road and 608 S. Lake Park Blvd. in Carolina Beach.
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