Local candymakers turn freeze-drying into a sweet sensation

Local couple Lacy Arabie and Danny Trahan got into the candy business in 2022 on a whim, after a local acquaintance with freeze-drying equipment was headed back to her native Canada and offered to sell her candy equipment to the couple. The equipment was being used as part of a novel business – the prior owner was converting normal store-bought candy into candy with new textures and flavors via the freeze-drying process.

The couple, who already operated another service-based business, initially got such a great deal on the freeze-drying equipment, they decided to give the business a go and use it as a tool to teach their six children more about running a business.

“We were just thinking they would have a good time with it, have some fun,” Arabie said of their initial decision to start a family candy business using the equipment.

Owners Trahan and Arabie even allowed their six kids to name the new business, as part of their learning process.

“They chose the name [Galaxy Goodies] because astronauts eat freeze-dried foods in outer space, and wanted to go with that theme,” Arabie said. “All of our candy [now] has an outer space themed name.”

In just a year’s time, Galaxy Goodies has grown to a point where it now offers numerous product offerings, far exceeding either Arabie or her fiancée Trahan’s initial expectations.

The heart of the local company’s candy making process lies in Galaxy Goodies’ freeze-drying machines. The company’s machines have special chambers where Arabie and her team slide trays of candy or fruit in, then close the chamber.

“It then vacuum-seals the chamber and freezes everything,” Arabie explained of her company’s candy-making process. “Depending on what it’s doing, it can get to -20 degrees.”

Once the temperature of the chamber reaches around -20 degrees, the machine heats up the trays, which draws moisture out of the candy or fruit. Galaxy Goodies’ freeze-drying machines then vacuums all the moisture out of the subject items, eventually creating the final freeze-dried product.

The candy often ‘explodes’ when the moisture is drawn out and removed from the candy, creating a softer, different texture than its original form. In some cases, the taste of the freeze-dried product can be significantly different than its original candy or fruit form. The entire process can take as little as three hours to complete for some types of candy such as Skittles, or as long as four days for certain types of fruit.

“The more seeds that you have in [a piece of] fruit, the longer it takes, since seeds hold moisture,” Arabie commented.

Arabie says she and her family have experimented with countless types of candy and fruit, always on the hunt for new flavor or texture experiences. Some of the local candymaker’s top sellers, particularly with older clients with dentures, tends to be their Asteroid candy, which is freeze-dried Jolly Ranchers, or their Caramel Puffs, which are freeze-dried Milk Duds. The candymaker has numerous other options made from Junior Mints, Nerd clusters, Starburst, sour gummy worms and other popular candies.

Customers that have braces or dentures, Arabie said, tend to gravitate towards Galaxy Goodies’ candy since their freeze-drying process turns normally chewy candies into softer, lighter textures that typically don’t stick to dental appliances and are easier to chew.

“We love seeing the joy on our clients’ faces when they taste their favorite candy for the first time in a long time,” Arabie said regarding customers who wear braces or dentures.

Galaxy Goodies candies are sold locally at the monthly German Coast Farmers’ Market events, held Saturdays at the East Bank Regional Library in Destrehan. With the assistance of a new custom-designed air-conditioned trailer booth, Galaxy Goodies plans to now sell its wares at many of the area festivals and arts and crafts events, and now accepts direct special orders from customers online.

To contact the owners directly, visit Galaxy Goodies online via their Facebook page.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply