Muncie couple opens Fresh Market Treats, first brick-and-mortar freeze-dried candy store

<p>Mckensie Dishman, an employee of Fresh Market Treats, lays out pieces of saltwater taffy before placing them into the shop&#x27;s freeze dryer March 5, 2021. Rylan Capper DN </p>

Mckensie Dishman, an employee of Fresh Market Treats, lays out pieces of saltwater taffy before placing them into the shop's freeze dryer March 5, 2021. Rylan Capper DN

Fresh Market Treats is located at 3849 S. Madison St. and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

How does freeze-drying candy work? 

  1. Candy is placed inside a freeze dryer, where it is frozen to 50 degrees below zero. 
  2. The freeze dryer creates a vacuum around the candy. 
  3. The machine gradually warms the candy. Ice is evaporated from the candy through sublimation, where the ice is turned into a gas, skipping the step when it becomes a liquid.
  4. The freeze-dried candy is stored in moisture-and-oxygen proof packaging to ensure its freshness. 

Source: How Stuff Works

When customers first walk into Fresh Market Treats, the doorbell chimes behind them as their eyes meet shelves stocked full of candy-filled bags and Ball jars. Shannon and Tiffany Turner, owners of Fresh Market Treats, happily greet their customers to welcome them into the only brick-and-mortar store that sells freeze-dried candy in the United States.

Before opening Fresh Market Treats, Shannon Turner owned Cutting Edge Fencing Company, a fencing business, since 1999. Nearly five years ago, he bought a freeze dryer to try freeze-drying candy. When he began showing an interest in opening a candy shop in March 2020, Tiffany Turner said, his idea “took off from there.” 

The Turners began renovating their location on Madison Street in April 2020, building the display shelving needed for their shop and painting the wood teal. After getting permission from the Centers for Disease Control, the Turners opened Fresh Market Treats to the public this past October. Currently, the Turners sell freeze-dried Skittles, caramel M&Ms, Milk Duds, Airheads, Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts, sour gummy bears, peach rings and more.

Shannon Turner, co-owner of the store packs an order of candy to be sent to a customer March 5, 2021 at Fresh Market Treats. Rylan Capper DN

Their most popular freeze-dried candies are their Werther’s Caramels, which the Turners couldn’t keep stocked on the shelves when they first opened. All of their freeze-dried candies are sold in mylar bags for long-term storage. 

Another one of the Turners’ popular items are their dog treats, which are freeze-dried sliced beef livers or chicken breasts without added preservatives. 

“If you need to train a dog, that's the way to go — they won't leave you alone until the bag is empty,” Tiffany Turner said. 

In addition to selling freeze-dried candies, Fresh Market Treats offers an assortment of raw taffies from sweet flavors — like honey and cookies & cream — to savory flavors — like maple bacon and chicken and waffles. 

(Left to Right) Tiffany Turner, Shannon Turner and their son Myles Turner stand outside their shop Fresh Market Treats. Lily Staatz, DN

Steven Thorn, one of the Turners’ customers, said he often stops by Fresh Market Treats to purchase freeze-dried candy for his granddaughter. 

“My granddaughter likes everything here,” Thorn said. “My favorite is the Bit-o-Honey [freeze-dried candy], and the key lime [taffy] is outstanding.”

Because the Turners enjoy supporting small businesses, Tiffany Turner said, Fresh Market Treats also displays business cards to advertise for other local businesses. One of the businesses the Turners support is Debbie’s Handmade Soaps, which is owned by their friend and neighbor Debbie Acree. 

“We feature her soaps, and she features some of our candies,” Tiffany Turner said. “We scratch each other's back.” 

Bags of candy sit on shelves March 5, 2021 at Fresh Market Treats. In addition to their brick and mortar store, the shop also ships all candy internationally. Rylan Capper DN

Along with fulfilling their in-store orders, Tiffany Turner said one of their goals is to offer gift baskets and sell seasonal holiday treats because she and her husband like to “mix it up and provide new experiences” at Fresh Market Treats. This past Christmas, Fresh Market Treats had a special for candy cane tubes filled with freeze-dried Skittles. During the spring season, the Turners plan to sell candy-filled Easter baskets and highlight green flavors, such as pickles, pears and pineapple saltwater taffies, for Saint Patrick’s Day. 

Tiffany Turner said she loves seeing new customers stop by Fresh Market Treats, and she’s always willing to give out samples to customers to offer them “a little bit of excitement” on the south side of Muncie. 

As for the Turners’ future business plans, Tiffany Turner said she and Shannon Turner hope to one day open a second shop in Indianapolis. 

“We will always probably keep this location on the south side [of Muncie] because this is where we've lived for our entire life,” Tiffany Turner said. “It's really sad to see so many businesses that have left. This is still a great part of town. If we can make it here on this side of town, we can make it anywhere.” 

Contact Lily Staatz with comments at ljstaatz@bsu.edu.

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