Friday, August 17, 2012

Pleasant Pops opening a storefront Labor Day weekend: we spoke with them

You may have seen Pleasant Pops around the neighborhood, they sell their artisanal popsicles made from locally sourced ingredients at the Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant farmers' markets, and they are quite tasty. The company, which started in Mt. Pleasant, has to over 100 flavors, and they've expanded to a popsicle truck, and they're also sold at Chinatown Coffee.

And with a target date of Labor Day weekend, they'll have their own storefront in Adams Morgan, called the Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market, which will sell their pops, "hand-selected seasonal local produce and dairy, locally-made bread, jams/jellies, pickles, and more. We’ll also be offering free wi-fi, locally roasted coffee, vegetarian sandwiches and salads made in house, and lots of outdoor seating to sit back and enjoy the summer." They're moved into the space vacated by Rita's Water Ice at 1781 Florida Ave NW. Here's a bit more from their Kickstarter page.

We had a chance to ask Anne Marie Ashburn of Pleasant Pops some questions about the brand and about their plans.

In what neighborhoods do founders Roger and Brian live? Can you tell us how the neighborhood influenced the business?
Roger lives in Mt Pleasant and Brian is about to move to Shaw. Both of the guys lived in Mt Pleasant when they started the business, thus the name Pleasant Pops. We love Mt Pleasant and hope to be a part of the community here for a long time.

How did you choose the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market to start your business? 
As we were started in Mt Pleasant and working out of rented kitchen space at Dos Gringos, it made sense to ask if we could be part of that market. We were thrilled when they said yes, and have been going faithfully over the last two and a half summers. We love watching the families there grow up and seeing our regulars every week.

Chongos Pop from Pleasant Pops (Sweet Cream + Cinnamon)How do you choose the flavors that go into the pops? 
We get inspired from a lot of sources - traditional Mexican paleta flavors like Avocado Cream and Chongos (right) make appearances, we experiment with ideas from friends (Sweet Cream and Corn), we do liquor spiked pops for private events that are inspired by drinks at our favorite DC bars, and we follow the market's offerings, making pops out of what's seasonal and what's delicious.

You use locally sourced ingredients, what are some of your favorite sources? 
We shop at the vendors around us at the farmers markets - we use a lot of fruit from Quaker Valley Orchards, Truck Patch Farms, and Big Riggs Farms, and dairy from Trickling Springs Creamery.

Where do you actually make the pops? 
Right now our kitchen space is in north Petworth but we are about to relocate to our new Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market and Cafe at 1781 Florida Ave.

You've really grown a lot lately, how many staff members do you have? 
We're hiring like crazy right now - moving from two full-time staff and one part-time staffer to at least 15 staffers to run our events and the store. Folks can go if they'd like to come work for us. It'll be the job of a lifetime as we open the doors to our first store.

And I've seen plans about the brick-and-mortar store, can you tell us more about that? Your ideas, potential opening, hours, etc? Sure - all the info is on our website -

And finally, you serve pops with alcohol at private functions, will there be any alcohol at the new storefront? And what are your hours?
There will not be any alcohol at all in the store, we are not getting a liquor licence. We will be open seven days a week, hours TBD.

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