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It started in the small town of Tocumbo in Michoacán, Mexico, with a struggling, post-World War II family who simply wanted to earn a living. Today, that living has turned into an international franchise of paleterías — La Original Michoacana. (Not to be confused with the La Michoacana grocery chain, a different company.) Eliodoro Aguilar operates a store near the Bishop Arts District, serving 28 flavors of all-natural ice cream made from fresh fruit from the farmers’ market. The flavor list also includes more exotic fruits such as the guanabána (or sour sop), which Aguilar imports from Guatemala through Goya Foods. You can mix and match flavors in cake cones, waffle cones or cups starting at just $2. In the freezer, you’ll find esquimal — a milk-based pop that is coated in chocolate and dipped in sprinkles or nuts. Aguilar says that popsicles are typically made with just water and fruit flavoring whereas the treats at La Michoacana are paletas, made with the real thing. Today, Aguilar says that about 90 percent of the workforce in Tocumbo is employed by La Michoacana. The company has grown throughout California and the Southwest. Another location will open soon in Grand Prairie, a move that came after the city’s mayor fell in love with the place and convinced Aguilar to expand there and play a role in revitalizing the suburb’s downtown area.

Strawberry ice cream with shaved coconut and sprinkles. / Photo by Alison Fetchel

La Original Michoacana
Davis & Bishop

Three more spots to cool off

1 Aunt Stelle’s Sno-Cones
No summer is complete without a visit to this now iconic sno cone stand in the heart of our neighborhood. Small cones start at $2 except for the Pink Lady, which is 25 cents extra.
Clarendon & Marlborough

2 Espumoso
Grab an Espumoso frappe or an organic fruit smoothie at this Bishop Arts District coffee shop. And be sure to try one of the homemade empanadas.
Bishop & Seventh

3 Fruteria Cano
This market offers fresh fruit bars and cups along with ice cream and sno cones on the cheap. You can also grab fresh-cut frozen fruit to-go from the freezer.
Zang & Beckley