Summer of the 'sicle
June 22nd, 2010
09:00 AM ET
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You scream, I scream, we all scream for … popsicles?

The word "popsicle" conjures up memories of stained-red lips from a melting Firecracker; hazy July days at summer camp with a Strawberry Shortcake Bar; or fighting with an older sibling for the last Fudgesicle in the box.

Now, the brightly colored treats are growing up and going artisan.

“That humblest of treats has been reincarnated, first by Mexicans and now by urban artisans,” Gus Rancatore recently wrote in the Atlantic.

“This summer, your frozen treats will be on a stick,” added Florence Fabricant in the New York Times.

The summer of the popsicle is officially underway – though, more adequately and legally speaking, it may be dubbed the summer of the ice pop.

The story goes: On a cold night in 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson accidently left a cup of powdered soda, water and a stirring stick outside overnight. When Epperson awoke the next morning, he found the stick-in frozen treat and dubbed it the "Epsicle."

Later in his life, the frozen treat became a hit with Epperson's own children: they constantly requested to have one of “Pop's 'sicles." In 1923, Epperson officially changed the name, applied for a patent and a couple of years later, sold the rights to the Popsicle brand.

Whether officially a Popsicle or not, it’s evident the summer-on-a-stick phenomenon expands far beyond the mass-produced Popsicles of yesteryear.

"… While ice pops might hint at a bit of nostalgia to most, the high-quality, local produce we use creates a way tastier and healthier ice pop we ate when we were growing up,” explained Joel Horowitz. Horowitz is the co-owner of People’s Pops, a New York City-based ice pop vendor, along with David Carrell and Nathalie Jordi.

People’s Pops develops the stereotypically classic children’s treat into more grown-up and seasonal flavors like Strawberry-Basil, Rhubarb-Jasmine, and Blueberries and Cream.

“It’s a childhood thing, it stems back to growing up,” explains Steven Carse, better known to Atlanta, Georgia, residents as the “King of Pops.”

Carse, 26, previously held a job in the insurance industry, and “when AIG and all that happened, [he] kind of happened with it.”

The next logical career path? Make popsicles.

Carse, with no culinary background, purchased a used paleta cart from a now-defunct company in Dallas, Texas, and began his reign as "the King.” At the Irving Street Market, he offers sophisticated flavor combinations like grapefruit mint, tangerine basil and chocolate sea salt.

Then, there’s Summer Bicknell of Locopops. In 2005, after completing a three-month apprenticeship at a paleteria in Tlazazalca, Mexico, she began supplying paletas (or Mexican fruit-based ice pops) to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina residents. One of her most popular offerings is the Mojito flavor: hand-crafted with tangy lime and refreshing mint to replicate the taste of the popular adult beverage.

Even small-batch artisanal ice cream vendors like Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, California, have expanded their frozen confection business into ice pop territory.

And despite the pricing of upwards of $4 a pop, business is, well, popping.

Locopops now operates four stores and six satellite locations; People’s Pops is in its third summer season and averages 2,000 to 3,000 ice pops a week; and Carse, who only opened his cart in April, has customers already visiting four to five times a week.

Leaving only one question: what to do when winter rolls around?

People’s Pops said they’re considering year-round production, and plan on supplying some of their late-season ice-pop varieties, like Pumpkin Pie, through Thanksgiving. Locopops closes from mid-December through mid-January - adding on their website: “and if the weather is lousy, say 38 degrees and raining — we stay home and so should you!”

Steven Carse is unsure of his cold weather business plan - but for now, he’ll keep his title as the "King of Pops."

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Filed under: Bite • News • Restaurants • Trends

soundoff (51 Responses)

    I'm an office workerHe is the happiest man alive.The whole world knows that.If he had not broken his tooth, he would not be in hospital now.He is ill in bed.There'll be some sport reviews on TV.There'll be some sport reviews on TV.What do you think? Here you are.Are your grandparents still living?

    November 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Zaira

    Awesome article! Thanks for this great article.This is so informative.

    August 6, 2010 at 3:47 am |
  3. house cleaning dunwoody

    I am rellay glad I stumbled upon your blog. This is a nice find, good info. Thanks..

    July 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Kathy

    Believe me, LocoPops are not something you can make at home. The flavors are truly amazing and unusual – it's not a simple matter of pouring juice in an ice pop mold. Right now they have stuff like white chocolate sesame, cackalacky pineapple, and mango chile. And they're certainly not $4! My family has a serious LocoPops habit, and there's nothing like the experience of riding our bikes down there and hanging out in the store, talking to people, writing on the chalkboard, reading books, etc. It's a destination as much as a frozen treat. They even sell chicken-flavored ones for your dog. of course, since the store is located on a college campus, we've seen a few students come in and eat those, presumably on a dare...

    June 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  5. Amy

    The Pop Shop at the Kirkwood Corner Market in Atlanta,GA has some really refreshing flavors.

    June 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  6. bongostella

    Stopped by the King of Pops Sunday. Had the raspberry/lime, wife had the the chocolate/sea salt.
    Both were delicious at 2.50 a pop.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  7. photodna

    The little town of St. Augustine, FL now has a pop shop as well – it's called The Hyppo and some of their flavors include mango habañero, blueberry cinnamon, and pineapple cilantro – they are AWESOME!

    June 23, 2010 at 1:38 am |
    • D

      Agreed! The Hyppo in St. Augustine is fantastic!!

      June 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  8. grofys

    i love edy's lime fruit bars. in fact, i am on a 7 day lime fruit bar diet. they are all i want. also, when i was young the ice cream man in our neighborhood sold "treasure ice bars". they were white, but were infused with different flavors throughout the bar....yum...

    June 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  9. Ruth

    Yes, I am super obsessed with popsicles this summer! Great way to cool off!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  10. Meghann

    I miss the Hershey's popsicles! They were the best, they were like 5 or 10 cents up at the corner store by my Mom and Dad's place in upstate NY. I wonder if they still make them. They had the best flavor EVER!!!! : )

    June 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • The Lonely Radish

      I have been searching for any info on these. Your comment was the only thing I could find. I remember lime and rootbeer were the best, then blue raspberry, and I think there was a banana flavored one.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • joe

      I was just online to find if they still made hershey popsicles as well. I live in upstate ny and we used to get them at the corner store for five cents as well. When we were kids my grandmother used to send us over with a dollar and we would come home with a weeks worth of hersheys popsicles. It was just funny to hear the same story as mine.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • Jen

        I loved the green/lime flavor too. Used to get them Upstate at the corner store. They were 10 cents of heaven!

        July 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  11. Amber

    I am amazed at how much money people will pay for something that takes only moments to make at home. For five bucks I got a set of ice-pop molds that have lasted our family for ten years.. when my daughter was three and didn't finish fresh fruit, or juice, or milk, or whatever I would just toss it all in the blender with a little honey and we always had yummy, healthy popsicles!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • Ruth

      That sounds like a great idea – I know we used to make them at home when I was younger but they just never tasted that good. I will try the combo you just suggested one day! Yum!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  12. Bob

    Sol Pops in Portland, OR makes handmade gourmet and wellness. They just opened the Sol Pops Shop (3954 N. Williams Ave. at NE Shaver St.), where they offer 20 rotating flavors at a time. The Pops Shop will stay open year-round. They are also available at Portland-area farmers markets, natural food stores, coops, schools, and cafes. The Cucumber Lime Jalapeno Sol Pop is AMAZING. Their Facebook and Twitter updates are hilarious! Check them out!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Apep

    Fortunately for me, Locopops is on the way back to my car from work here in Durham.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  14. Nuts

    Red Stapler-I know about the fruit bars, love them too. But the cocoanut popsicles were outstanding.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  15. jaz

    paletas!! de coco, de piña! I love when the Paleta man comes around in his green or white cart! So much better than the crap sold in the store!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • iamthewalrus

      I've got a lot of taste memories but one of the single most amazing bites of my life was a paletas de grosella in Mexico. After a long day in the sun, it was refreshing, crisp and just right!

      June 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Reece Hamm

      There is a brand called Fruitfull that makes frozen fruit bars in pina colada, tamarind, horchata, and mamey flavors and they are AWESOME. Well worth tracking down.

      June 24, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  16. WausauFamily


    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  17. WausauFamily

    What a great treat! Nice poto too!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Burbank

    Must be nice to have $4 to waste on a sugary obesity snack that takes 5 minutes to eat.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • mlb

      They sell sugarfree and blue ones at Wal-Mart.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Steveeeee

      I'm pretty sure your negativity is not wanted...everyone is talking about the great memories popsicles have for sounds to me like you were deprived of them as a child

      June 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • DiBartollo

      yes it's great..... burbank, so your probably from Cali........$4 is steep for a cali resident when the state is bankrupt.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Nuts

    Does anyone remember the white cocoanut popsicles. I used to get them in Chicago years and years and years ago. 50 to be exact.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • Red Stapler

      I've seen Dole frozen fruit bars in Coconut flavor.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  20. Clayton

    Haha, just thinking of eating the Firecracker over summer, especially the 4th of July, just brings back good memories. Hanging out at the park with my family and friends and having a bbq. Everyone running around like crazy waiting for food and the music playing while we all wait for the fireworks. Thanks for the article :) Nice bit of history and brings back good memories!

    June 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  21. Marcia

    I loved eating the double popsicles especially the cherry flaovored ones when i was a kid back home in the Bronx. Man, I haven't seen those in years. I would love to reminisce my childhood years with one of those!!

    June 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  22. Cait

    Popsicles remind me of playing in ball games as a child. After a scorching double header, a delicious cold treat on a stick is the best thing ever! I still have one from time to time, and I love the healthier variations they have come out with, like blue bunny's frozen yogurt pops, the tart real fruit pops that Dole and Minute Maid make (my fave is the limeade) and anything by skinny cow. I just love summer, it's so yummy!

    June 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  23. tn8chusrdhd

    I'm not much for change. I still love the banana popsicles and load up in the summer. But, whatever happened to good old fashioned ROOT BEER popsicles. They were my favorite and now you can't even find one!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Me

      What happened to Cinnamon? Those were my grandma's favorite.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
      • Lib

        The King of Pops, in Atlanta, has a great Cinnamon / Banana pop!

        June 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Carl

      The root beer flavored are available in Ohio under the popsiccle brand name. Root Beer is not avaialble as a sugar free popsicle.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  24. Nadine

    Yum blue dye.... cancer, ADHD, and neuro-degeneratative disease on a stick!!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Me

      I believe you are thinking of Red 40.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Limer

      Do you have any plans on Friday night? I was wondering if you wanted to have dinner.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  25. Dirk

    Popsicles? They're known as cold on the cob where I'm from

    June 22, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Limer

      Really?? Where are you from. That's pretty cool.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  26. Keri

    The king of pops has some pretty delicious stuff. very refreshing on a hot day, and very unique flavors. I highly recommend them!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  27. Moli

    Marcie, I think the old 'blue' flavor caused cancer or some malady so they stopped using whatever the Blue(number) in food.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  28. Macie

    Where can I get the old fashioned blue twinpop in the photo? I've wanted one for the past 40 years, and yes they make blue icy things, but it's the flavor of the original blue twin pops that I want to experience once again.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • pete

      We have them in Fargo, raspberry flavor

      June 22, 2010 at 11:48 am |
      • Me

        Where at in Fargo? I haven't seen them here in Grand Forks... at least I don't think I have. I know they used to have them in Wyoming..... Now I crave one.

        June 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Shelby

      North Star brand treats makes cherry, orange, blue raspberry and root beer. They sell them here in Wisconsin.

      June 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Justin

      The name of the blue twin pops is Budget Saver Twin Pops. They have a website that will allow you to type in your zip code and find stores in your local area that sell that brand.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Natalie

      Yes, Macie, they were my favorite, too! Nothing beats a real blue! They were 5 cents at my corner store in the 1960's.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  29. Lidia

    dole just came out with new fruit pops too! they're at wal-mart so the price is good, and they're healthy for the kids, which in my book is way better than too much ice cream. i recently saw another post that says popsicles are the new cupcakes, so maybe we'll be seeing them at kids parties??

    June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am |
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