Often located near the intersection of Tennessee Street and Ocala Road, a local lemonade business is sharing a piece of love, shedding a bit of light, and selling a lot of lemonade.
Agapé’s Lemonade is an upcoming local roadside lemonade company “inspired by awe-tism,” as stated in its Instagram bio.
Jontae and Vermetra Jackson, the owners and founders of Agapé’s Lemonade, named the business after their 9-year-old son with autism, Agapé.
“The short story is that we wanted to create a business that he could take over,” Jontae Jackson said, regarding their son. “He’s wonderful and amazing but I know that people with autism do struggle sometimes.”
“We wanted to create an avenue for him to have a means of sustaining his life and being productive, all while having the ability to socialize,” Vermetra Jackson said.
“And lemonade is his favorite drink,” she added with a smile.
Despite having been in business for almost two years, Agapé’s Lemonade began its mobile roadside service about a year ago.
“Initially our plan was to not only do day to day roadside mobile food but to also serve at events such as the North Florida Fair, FAMU Homecoming, Strawberry Festival, and Raccoon Festival,” Jontae Jackson said. “COVID hit and we had to adjust on the fly but in the near future we want to get back to that.”
The Jacksons both attended Florida A&M University where Jontae graduated from the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences.
Jontae is currently a registered dietitian but has a long history working in nutrition and has applied his knowledge to their product.
What makes their lemonade so special? The Jacksons are confident in not only the quality of their product but also its nutritional value.
“I know no one else uses a lower glycemic index in their lemonade,” Jontae said, explaining that Agapé’s Lemonade is created with a healthier sugar blend, 5 stage purified water, and fresh lemons.
While the Jacksons are concerned about serving only the best ingredients to their customers, the purpose behind their special recipe is deeper than that.
“We created this product as something that Agapé could have and for us it had to be something that we felt OK giving him,” Vermetra explained. “That’s my concern as a mom … this also makes me feel more comfortable serving it to anyone else.”
The Jacksons hope to expand their company even further, looking toward distribution.
“We would love to see gallon jugs of Agapé’s Lemonade and even in smaller local stores.” Jontae said.
“Seeing Agapé walk into the store and see his name or his face on the shelves … to have things invested in him … that is definitely the goal,” Vermetrasaid. “We are thinking that way for all of our children.”
Agapé’s Lemonade can be found on Facebook and Instagram at @AgapesLemonade.