Strawberry Fields Celebrates First Anniversary in Ghent
Strawberry Fields Smoothie and Gelato Shop in Ghent
Norfolk resident Christine Durkin stands indecisively in the small, brightly lit space of Strawberry Fields in Ghent in search of relief from the sultry summer sun. She examines her frosty choices behind the glass, first noticing the multi-colored sprinkles and thick ribbons of chocolate icing that decorate the birthday cake gelato. Then, she’s tempted by the nuggets of Thin Mints protruding from the minty cream nestled in the small case. After samples of banana pudding gelato and mango sorbet and stracciatella and one more taste of the mango sorbet, she stands defeated. She simply can’t pick one. So she picks two.
“I’ve probably tried more than 50 different combinations since they opened last year,” Durkin says. “Key lime pie and coconut is one of my all-time favorite combos so far.”
Memorial Day weekend marks the first anniversary of Strawberry Fields, the small fresh fruit smoothie and gelato shop on Colley Avenue. Over the last year, Strawberry Fields has featured more than 300 gelato flavors. “Our product changes daily,” manager Donnie Fry notes. “We have fresh flavors coming out all day, every day. So the options are really never the same.”
All gelato is made fresh, on-site, daily. Exotic flavors such as pineapple mojito and mocha cappuccino are nestled in the case next to staples like vanilla bean and stracciatella.
“We encourage sampling,” Fry says. “People say, ‘How many can I try?’ And I look in the case and say, ‘Well, there are 12 flavors; you can try 12.’”
Shop owners Curt and Heather Wynn, a husband and wife team, first got interested in smoothie and gelato creation in the Outer Banks. The Wynns and Fry worked together at a shop owned by Heather’s parents.
“Strawberry Fields is very much a family-owned business because we only have family and friends working there, which makes for a pretty sweet working environment,” Heather Wynn says. “Growing up with entrepreneurial parents and being behind the counter at their shop at a very young age, I innately learned how rewarding owning your own business can be and also how much work goes into it.”
After the group moved to Norfolk, they watched Swirls ice cream shop open at 1510 Colley Avenue and admired the space from afar. When they got wind that the ice cream shop was closing their doors, the Wynns jumped at the opportunity.
“A lot of people said, ‘Hey, you’re going in where something else that’s the same went under; why?’” Curt Wynn says. “First off, it’s not the same. This is not just another one of those frozen yogurt shops that you see popping up all over the place.” Not only does the shop make gelato; they also feature fresh fruit smoothies and juices.
Strawberry Fields only uses fresh ingredients in their products. Clear containers filled with fruit and stored in a fridge with clear glass allow the customers to see exactly what goes into their purchase.
“People are astounded when something says there’s apple juice in it and they see us pull out an actual apple and cut it up and put it in the juicer,” Fry says. “Their minds are blown. And that’s what we want.”