Has anyone else felt the humidity in the air lately? Maybe it is because of all these hurricanes, but the air is so thick you could cut it with a knife. It is almost chewy outside (I know gross example). Normally I can put away some ice cream. It is sort of sick the amount I could eat if you gave me a spoon, some gallons, and told me no one would judge me. However, lately it feels too heavy on these balmy days. My friend Paul opened the King of Pops RVA popsicle cart, and ever since my first encounter with these chilly treats I have become hooked.
The cool thing (no pun intended) about these pops is the flavors. Paul and his team have developed dozens of interesting combinations, and I have not been disappointed with the four (shame) I have tried. My favorites have been the refreshing lemongrass coconut and the indulgent sea salt chocolate, which is like the best fudge pop you could imagine.
If you want to try the pops leave a comment and you will be entered into a giveaway where five lucky winners will be chosen for a free pop voucher! You get an extra vote for following King of Pops on Twitter @kingofpopsrva and “liking” them on Facebook, just tell me you did in your comment! Winners will be chosen this Friday!
When I first met Paul two years ago he was actually a Spanish teacher, so when I found out he had left teaching to open a very interesting small business I was so intrigued. We had a little interview for this blog feature and I thought I would share it with all of you!
How do you come up with your flavors?
Most of the flavors were developed by my friends in Atlanta who started the company. There are also flavors for which we come up with on the spot given certain ingredients. For example, I had a Peach-Nectarine pop a few weeks ago. I had spoken to Saunders’ Brothers Farms at SOJ about buying fruit from them and they gave me a crate mixed with both peaches and nectarines. So I just cut them all up and mixed them together. There was no set recipe for a pop given a certain amount of peaches and nectarines, it was developed on the spot. Another time, it was just peaches but a mix of yellow and white peaches. So it can depend on what I get. It’s a mix between getting my ingredients from local vendors or from the store.
Where do you whip up your pops?
I rent some kitchen space where I make the pops. It’s not terribly glamorous; hulling strawberries and squeezing lemons and lime and other such work. The names of each pop, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lime, etc, are basically the ingredients that go in, plus water and sugar for the fruit based ones, milk, cream and sugar for others.
How did you decide to leave teaching to pursue this full time?
I had realized about midway through my 2 year teaching career that it was not a long-term profession for me. I had always wanted to go into business for myself; it was a drive that I hadn’t felt for anything else. Teaching had allowed me to be involved with another passion of mine, languages, but I had a sort of restlessness about me that told me I wasn’t meant to be a Spanish teacher. But teaching was one of the best experiences of my life both personally and professionally, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I decided last January that I would finish out the school year but not return the following year. This was before I knew the pop thing was definitely going to happen. I considered applying to Altria and Capital One and other companies since I was a business major and had some experience, but I knew that by doing so I would not advance to what I felt like my career should be. I decided to devote all my free-time to planning for KOP Richmond because with my teacher schedule of having summers off, there was no better time to go into business for myself. Much of it was the long, tedious process of acquiring the necessary licenses and other applications, but regardless I was happy knowing that I was being true to myself in pursuing this venture rather than take an easy way out by applying for a more secure job. It was a great feeling of relief, not to mention a sort of feeling of freedom; a path into the unknown.
What is the most fun part of your job?
The most fun part of my job is when I’m outside selling pops. I absolutely love being out there and chatting with people as they come up to the cart. It’s an energizing feeling to talk with people as I sell a product I’m passionate about, especially when each pop sold is a couple bucks towards paying my bills.
What is your favorite flavor?
Banana Puddin’ is my favorite, then probably Lemon Basil.
List of all the flavors!
This list is nowhere near comprehensive. It’s most of the flavors that I’ve done in my short 9 weeks of selling, but there are many more to come!
Chocolate Sea Salt
Key Lime Pie
Cookies N’ Cream
Strawberries N’ Cream
Blanchard’s Iced Coffee
Blood Orange Basil
Where can we find you?
Tuesdays: VA Historical Society 6-9 (through August) 25th and Main across from Millie’s 6-9 (September-November)
Wednesdays: Chesterfield Towne Center 6-9
Thursdays: Martin Agency (in the plaza) 12-2:30, VCU (Laurel and Franklin by Monroe Park) 12-5, Hardywood Brewery 6-9
Fridays: Carytown 12-3, VCU (Laurel and Franklin by Monroe Park) 12-5, VA Historical 6-9 (through August)
Saturday: South of The James Market 8-12, Lakeside 8-12, Carytown 1-5, Hardywood Brewery 1-6
That’s the schedule for now, though I’m also at First Fridays the next two months (location TBD). Also, as things come up, especially on Saturdays, the schedule is subject to change. Check @KingOfPopsRVA for any schedule changes.
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