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Ice cream fans are going bananas for this shop's 'Pickle Split' dessert

The story behind this sour treat is pretty sweet.
Deanna Farrar
/ Source: TODAY

Ken and Deanna "Dee" Farrar never imagined that they'd be making national headlines over pickles and ice cream.

But it's 2019 and pickles are pretty the much the new kale, so here we are.

The origin of the sweet-and-sour combo actually dates back decades to when Dee was 17-years-old. As a risk-taking teen, she accepted a dare to eat a pickle on her scoop of strawberry ice cream, which was drizzled with chocolate sauce. Surprisingly, she loved it.

Thirty-two years later, Dee still enjoys the bizarre food combination on occasion so, on April Fools' Day this year, she thought she'd try to entice some customers at Pine Mountain Country Coffee House (the shop she owns with her husband) to try it, too.

"How about something crazy for cream and pickles! Try a Pickle Ice cream sundae! Not an April's Fool Day joke, it's really good, especially when you top it with chocolate sauce," Dee wrote on the Missouri mercantile's Facebook page.

But it wasn't until a few days later when Ken was poking fun at his wife over dinner that they decided to actually sell the "Pickle Split."

"He was kind of laughing at me and said, 'Next thing I know, you're gonna make a pickle split,' and I said to him, 'You're a genius!'" Dee told TODAY Food.

Dee made herself a sundae piled high with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice creams, drizzled the the scoops in both strawberry and chocolate sauces, added whipped cream, three maraschino cherries ... and a bright-green Vlasic dill pickle spear.

Though Dee often seasons and jars her own pickles, she swears by Vlasic spears when assembling her cold and creamy dessert.

"I thought to myself, 'I'm gonna enjoy this,'" Dee told TODAY. And she did.

Dee devoured the whole thing and decided it had to be added to the shop's menu on April 3. So far, according to the ice cream enthusiast, every customer that's ordered a Pine Mountain Pickle Split has eaten every last bite.

"I'm glad everybody is daring and willing to try new things," Dee said. She's now thinking about swapping the banana and/or pickle spear for strips of chocolate-dipped bacon in the future.

But Dee didn't always spend her days serving up joy and inventive desserts to local families.

For 10 years, she was an active duty paramedic for the St. Louis Fire Department. She responded to emergency calls and delivered babies until an on-the-job injury left her temporarily paralyzed in December 2010. Ken nursed her back to health during her recovery and rehabilitation.

"He got me back whole again," said Dee, who is no longer in a wheelchair and able to walk.

Ken and Dee Farrar opened their mercantile, coffeehouse and ice cream shop after an injury left Dee temporarily paralyzed.
Ken and Dee Farrar opened their mercantile, coffeehouse and ice cream shop after an injury left Dee temporarily paralyzed.Deanna "Dee" Farrar

After Dee completed several surgeries in 2013, she began crafting bath and beauty products, canning foods and gardening, while Ken worked on wood products. In 2016, they opened their first brick-and-mortar store to house the hobbies they'd developed. The mercantile grew and the Farrars opened a separate cafe where locals could come in for a coffee, listen to live music and, of course, eat ice cream.

In March, they moved both stores under one roof to a new location in Festus, Missouri.

Since the Pickle Split has garnered such widespread international attention, Dee told TODAY she's read a myriad of reviews. After all, pickles are one of those foods that can lead to rather divisive dishes, like a pickle-topped pizza or edible pickle bouquets for Valentine's Day.

When it comes to the Pickle Split, some people are infatuated with the idea.

Others are horrified.

The Farrars don't mind the mixed reactions, and are just happy their creation is giving people something unusual to talk about.

"Everyone's laughing and having fun and enjoy things — that's what ice cream parlors are for," Dee said. "That's why we added the old-time ice cream bar. People seem to miss it. You can order hand-dipped ice cream in chilled ice cream dishes and glasses on a paper doily and have it just like you did with your grandparents."

With a dill pickle, of course.