Cooling down business in Penticton

And what better way for hot people to beat the heat than with some ice cream?

Brittany Griffith of Gorgeous Georgia’s Ice Cream dishes up one of her popular home-made

Brittany Griffith of Gorgeous Georgia’s Ice Cream dishes up one of her popular home-made

Summertime in Penticton brings with it certain things: hot sun, hot beaches, hot sidewalks, hot people.

And what better way for hot people to beat the heat than with some ice cream? At least, that’s the question three Penticton entrepreneurs have been asking. For the summer of 2013, the city is sporting three new spots where you can indulge in a variety of icy treats.

Brittany Griffith rolled out Gorgeous George’s Ice Cream in May. Literally rolled — her shop is built into a van so she can bring her homemade, completely non-dairy ice creams to where the people are.

Mostly, though, you’ll find her on Penticton’s Lakeshore Drive, at the foot of Martin Street.

Griffith turned her own need for dairy-free products into a business purveying a very special type of ice cream.

“I would say 10 per cent of our ice creams are coconut milk-based and the majority being cashew milk based,” said Griffith. “And I make my own cashew milk so there are no harmful ingredients in it or anything.”

And on those bases, Griffiths builds a variety of flavours, again making the ingredients herself.

“With our cashew, we are doing a backyard mint. I grow mint, we’re using lots of that. We make a sea salt and dark chocolate and we make a caramel sea salt, and then an organic cookie one,” said Griffiths. Those are the basic four, but Griffiths likes to experiment, so on any given day, you might find coconut lemon, root beer, donut or Okanagan strawberry.

While numbers of customers are growing every day, Griffiths said the idea of non-dairy ice cream came as a surprise for some people.

“At first I think people were a little bit intimidated. It’s very similar, almost shockingly similar to real ice cream,” said Griffiths. “We want to make sure that everyone can have fun and eat ice cream.”

A little ways away, at 201 Martin St., there is another choice. Very Berry Frozen Yogurt gives customers several flavour options of low fat and non-fat yogurt and a choice of dozens of toppings from fresh fruit to cereal to nuts.

And down at the other end of town, Juliana Harstone’s Second Scoop has been in operation for the past two weeks at Barefoot Resort on Skaha Lake Road, though she is getting ready for her grand opening bash Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I’ll be making my homemade waffle cones outside and the roof top patio will be open,” said Harstone. And, she’ll also be putting her 48 flavours of ice cream on half price for the event.

Harstone is in agreement with Griffith’s sentiments about ice cream.

“There is always a need for ice cream, especially in a city like this where it is so hot for six months of the year,” said Harstone. “How could you go wrong, eating a nice cone with your family, going on a date, anything, it just brings people together.”

And Harstone said she has a great place to do just that.

“The roof top patio. You look over Skaha Lake and you can see everything, it’s just a beautiful place to sit and eat your ice cream,” she said. While her ice creams may have a more traditional dairy base, Harstone said she has no shortage of flavour choices, from the basics to exotics like birthday cake and Belgian hazelnut — flavours she rotates and brings in as a surprise.

“I’ve been in the ice cream industry for about eight years, now so I finally struck out on my own,” said Harstone. “It was my dream to have an ice cream store.”