Martha's Ice Cream part of a growing trend to offer international sweet treats.
With over 30 different ice cream flavors on the menu including really unique ones such as corn, cheese, tequila, and more – Martha’s Ice Cream is attracting adventurous customers looking to try something new.
Located in the Middletown Square Shopping Center, next to the bowling alley on North Broad Street, Martha’s Ice Cream has been a hit since it opened last month, according to owners Martha Ayala and husband, Abdon Garcia.
“We didn’t really know what to expect in terms of the reception we would get in Middletown, but it’s been great. Everyone is so friendly and open to try what we have to offer,” she said. “It’s been a blessing.”
Martha’s ice cream comes from La Guerrerense, a Mexican-style ice cream company based in Newport, Delaware.
Ayala’s shop offers traditional ice cream creations and flavors you would come to expect such as chocolate, vanilla, rocky road ice cream, banana splits, milkshakes, smoothies, and more.
But there are also more exotic ice cream flavors like “mamey” or “nance” for example, which are made from fruits that grow only in tropical climates.
Available also is a snack food called “chicharrones,” which originated in Spain and influenced many of the culinary styles in Mexico and other Latin American nations.
And you can also order, “elotes” (corn on the cob covered in mayonnaise, cheese, and chili powder), one of the popular street foods in Mexico and Central America.
Other items on the menu also include “aguas de fruta fresca,” (fresh fruits water), “piña loca” (a fruit cocktail made of many tropical fruits including pineapple, watermelon, and jicama), and “raspados” (Mexican snow cones).
Much of what Martha’s Ice Cream offers can only be found in big cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Chicago where there are larger Mexican and Mexican-American populations.
Over the years, however, more entrepreneurs have begun opening up “neverias” – the Spanish word for “ice cream shop” – in smaller cities and towns in order to cater to nostalgic customers desperate to eat the sweets and snacks from their childhoods.
“But my husband and I were excited to see that everyone in the community, not just Latinos, were walking in and trying what we have to offer,” Ayala said. “It’s bringing everyone together.”
On a warm July afternoon, three friends walked into Martha’s Ice Cream shop after playing on their skateboards, including Matthew Jones of Middletown who ordered a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
“Would you like to taste it first? Our vanilla ice cream has a different color,” Ayala told Jones.
The Middletown High School student tasted the sample and smiled.
“Give me a scoop please!” he said.
Another friend in the group, Tatem Brown of Middletown, also ordered a scoop of vanilla.
“It’s good! Better than what I get somewhere else,” Brown said. “It’s different. Really tastes homemade.”
For Ayala, seeing customers happily eating their ice cream, elotes, or drinking their milkshakes gives her great pleasure. Owning a business is the culmination of many years of sacrifice, she said.
“My husband suffered a lot growing up. His father died at an early age, and he had to work two jobs doing manual labor to save enough and finally open our own business. This is a dream come true,” she said.
In the winter months, Martha’s Ice Cream will continue to sell ice cream, but also supplement the menu by offering Mexican-style cookies, “atole” (a hot beverage made from corn, water, and milk), and other offerings that should get the business through the season.