When one thinks of an ice pop factory, they probably imagine a real-life candyland (I know I did). What they don’t consider, especially if they happen to have a beard, like me: legally mandated beard-nets. Such is the reality of my day trip to the People’s Pops factory, located in the historic Pfizer building in Brooklyn.
Since 2008, People’s Pops has been serving artisan ice pops to local NYC businesses and markets, in addition at its four brick-and-mortar locations. The original operation was small scale, with the first batches frozen in makeshift Dixie-cup molds. After expanding its operation, the company moved into its current space.
The bright factory is a custom-fitted production space in the building, a former pharmaceutical factory that plays host to a number of food and drink manufacturing sites (think ice cream cone makers and absinthe distillers). It’s reminiscent of a beehive: Busy workers handle every level of the pops’ production, from stamping the wooden sticks with the company’s logo to packaging the finished product for wholesale shipping. Tupac blares over the factory’s speakers, and I’m relieved to find the teasing my beard-net attracts is mostly good natured.
And exactly how are the ice pops produced? Fresh fruit is first broken down, reduced and lightly sweetened with organic simple syrup to form a base for the frozen treats. In some cases, the factory turns fresh fruit into pops then gets them into consumers’ hands in as few as three days.
From there, the base is poured into molds and dipped into a glycol solution that reaches temperatures as low as -25 degrees (which is colder and freezes faster than a typical freezer). After only 20 minutes, the molds are removed, and the frozen pops are stored in a large walk-in freezer. The finished pops are then fed onto a conveyor belt and packaged via automated wrapping machinery—but you can see all of this in our video.
People’s Pops’ innovative and sometimes-boozy flavors, like plum iced tea and strawberry basil, make these frozen treats so well loved. Take the strawberry sangria one for example: After emerging from the busy factory with one for the road, it’s just the tool to brave the blistering streets of New York in July—and the slight buzz doesn’t hurt either.
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