The staff of Wise Acre, Inc., traveled from their small coastal town of Blue Hill, Maine, to introduce their unique frozen treats to New York City and the world at the recent Fancy Food Show. The Food Channel was there, and we got an opportunity to taste these ‘adult’ frozen pops. More on that later.
Wise Acre’s Frostbites™ and Frosteas™ are all-natural frozen treats, sweetened only with unrefined sweeteners such as wild honey or organic maple syrup. Frosteas contain organic, freshly brewed teas, such as: Jasmine Green Tea Delight, Cool Your Jets (an herbal tea mix of Chamomile, Lemon Balm, & Spearmint), and the rich and highly-caffeinated Yerba Mate from South America.
Two years ago, Wise Acre’s president, Jim Picariello, started his fledgling business out of his kitchen and delivered his frozen treats to a small handful of co-ops and a farmers market. Since then Wise Acre has exploded into East Coast distribution in grocery chains including Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Hannaford Supermarkets. “We’re currently working on the Midwest,” Picariello says. “The West Coast is only a few years away.”
p(right caption). Jim Picariello and his line of frozen treats
“After tasting our Frosteas,” says Picariello, “New Yorkers first say, 'Wow!’. And then, 'This idea is stupidly obvious. Why haven’t I seen a product like this before?” Picariello believes it’s the established psychology of the frozen snack aisle: Make confections flavored for kids and the parents will eat them, too. Picariello’s attitude is: Take back the frozen dessert aisle and make products for adults. As it turns out, he says, kids love their Wise Acre treats as well.
Wise Acre Frostbites and Frosteas are packaged frozen in plastic sleeves and enjoyed ‘squeeze up’ style. They are sold as mix-and-match singles so customers can choose the flavors they want without having to purchase an entire box. The suggested retail price of Wise Acre treats are $1.49 each.
The Food Channel Taste Panel
We assembled a team of foodies here at The Food Channel test kitchens and gave all five flavors a try. By far the favorite was the Maine Maple Lemon—distinctive flavor, sweet but refreshing. The Jasmine Green Tea Delight has a classic green tea flavor, as did the Cool Your Jets Herbal. The Honey Love we found sweet but lacking a little in character, while the Yeba Maté was pretty much everyone’s least favorite.
Overall: We really like 'em. Someone commented, “These would be great to have right after cutting the grass on a hot day.”
Words to Live By
The official mottos of Wise Acre are: “No Fruit!” and “It must taste great in Gin or Vodka,” says Picariello. ‘By using natural sweeteners such as honey and maple, which are subtly different season to season and harvest to harvest, every freshly brewed batch of Frosteas and Frostbites is an exploration and discovery of unique deliciousness.’ This flies in the face of a world of standardized and homogenized foods, he says. “What other food companies call Quality Control…’ Picariello says, “...we call 'Taste each batch and make sure it tastes awesome enough’.”
It’s not too difficult to figure out why this company is called Wise Acre. It seems there’s one running the business.