What’s more refreshing than a frigid, fruity ice pop? The syrupy concoctions filled with artificial flavorings, however, have lost their appeal. That’s why many local ice pop artisans are letting farmers markets inspire them, offering icy treats that capitalize on the season’s bounty of fresh fruit, herbs and spices. Here are five area folks who are bringing the District an alternative to the Popsicle of yesteryear with their fresh cream- or water-based ice pops and paletas, the Latin American version.

Pleasant Pops

1781 Florida Ave. NW; 202-558-5224
Business partners Roger Horowitz and Brian Sykora opened the market in 2012. One of their earliest failed experiments, Horowitz says, was an overspiced pineapple chili pop. “We’ve since learned about proportions.” Among the most popular seasonal flavors, Horowitz says, are strawberry ginger lemonade, cookies and cream, and peach hibiscus.


Find the cart at facebook.com/originalteapops
Sometime around 2000, John Bolten wrote a list of ideas for startups. Among them: turning tea into ice pops. Ten years later, his wife, Allison, found the list and helped turn the idea into reality while expanding the variety. Their flavors include apple pie (made with Granny Smith apples), pear mint and Key lime pie, made with Greek yogurt and chunks of gingersnap crust.

Hill Pops

The Cupboard, 1504 E. Capitol St. NE
Traveling through Richmond in 2011, Corey Ramsden came across La Michoacana, an ice cream parlor that sold paletas. “I hadn’t seen anything like that in the D.C. area,” Ramsden says. He teamed up with the shop to bring the pops to the area and rebranded them as Hill Pops, which formally launched later that year with flavors like chili mango and pistachio.

The Dairy Godmother

2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-683-7767
This shop is known for its creamy custards, made by owner Elizabeth Davis. Davis began selling ice pops five years ago after acquiring a machine that makes 88 pops in 15 minutes. “When you freeze them fast, it keeps any particulate matter from settling down,” she says. The Mexican chocolate pop is chai-like, while the blackcurrant is tart and berry-laced.


Find the pops at whimpop.com/#findus

When Maria Romano moved to the U.S. from her native Mexico City six years ago, she missed a particular taste of home. “In Mexico, we have a paletas shop on every corner,” Romano says. So she decided to bring her culture here. Many of WhimPop’s flavors honor Romano’s Mexican heritage, like the tamarind pop, the lime pop and the cucumber chili pop.


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