There is a buzz around popsicles. Maybe it is the trend for summer 2021? Are you ready for those blistering days of June, July and August? Look for these local treats to beat the heat.
There were kids milling around the shop window on Main Street in Chelmsford. The attraction? A small-framed menu card was their focus. It gave the names and ingredients of a dozen frozen treats awaiting inside. No hesitation, they knew they wanted popsicles, but which ones? They were having trouble making their minds up.
It is a challenge, so a box can be assembled for you. Maybe bring a cooler? Spicy Mango, Coconut Cream, Chaga (no kidding) and Chocolate-Dipped Pineapple are but a few. The cherry and maple syrup “May the 4th be with you” was a one-day-only feature that I happened to chance upon — oh, so good!
Roxanne Langemann is a professional, but has never had a business before. This idea is a winner sure to garner attention now, and experience sustained interest for years to come.
“I get a feeling about combinations. What would I enjoy? It’s likely something everyone might find exciting. I check out lots of recipes, and books speak of possibilities,” she said.
The Turbo 8 machine from Brazil allows for 28 perfectly aligned pops, however, these are truly unique creations, not mass-produced product.
Step inside to a clean, white-tiled space and eye-popping iced delights. In the display case seriously luminous colours speak of more than a suggestion of honest ingredients.
“We make ice pops using fresh produce with as many local ingredients as possible,” Langemann said.
But isn't this a seasonal thing? “It can be, but pops are good any time of year!”
How did you perfect your recipe?
“We started with a test kitchen. I would make pops for friends and family, and ask for feedback. I started an Instagram account to track my progress and remember my recipes. I get inspired by the seasons, things I see in grocery stores and the Sudbury Market.”
What stimulated you to follow this dream?
“I went to my cousin’s wedding in Atlanta, Georgia, a few years back, and my aunt had hired an ice pop caterer for the rehearsal dinner/pool party. A woman with a cooler and an umbrella served delicious artisanal pops at the event. I thought that was such a fun idea.”
Have you had other entrepreneurial ventures?
“No, this is a first for me. I’ve had an eventful life and this new adventure makes me happy.”
How many varieties do you have?
“We have 12 different pops at a time. We have our staples like Chocolate Monkey and our signature Papaya Pop, but we will change it up often. Creating recipes is my favourite part of the job.”
Are you developing more?
“Always!! We made some light saber pops for May the 4th and I’m dreaming about a coffee-flavoured pop, maybe a strawberry cheesecake, and I'd like to offer keto options as well … they will come to life very soon.”
Do other retailers sell your pops?
“Not yet, but we're working on collaborations.”
Why Papaya Pops?
“I named the shop after our 1973 VW bus named ‘Lapapaya’.”
With COVID have you had to adapt your plans and expectations?
“The idea was born during COVID. My expectations were very low overall. I understand that it's not an ideal time to start a new business, however the community has been extremely supportive. I was lucky to have qualified for the Digital Main Street Program and had a wonderful team led by Paula Morrow, who helped me develop my online presence.
“I also have amazing people in my bubble that are incredibly talented and helped to beautify the store. My daughter, Nova, is my self-appointed manager and she has definitely earned the title. I absolutely couldn't do it without her.”
Do you have low sugar? What about gluten-free?
“All of our pops are gluten-free and peanut-free. We mostly sweeten with locally produced maple syrup and sometimes honey. At the moment, all of our pops are dairy free, but Nova makes a killer cheesecake pop that might have to show up on the menu as an exception.”
What will bring customers in and what will bring them back?
“I hope that customers come in for the great variety of treats and friendly service. I would love them to come back because our pops make you feel good, and they taste delicious!”
Where is Papaya Pops Roxanne?
“We have the sweetest little shop at 9 Main Street East in the heart of Chelmsford. All of our pops are $3 +tax. Since we are a brand new business, we aren't ready to take online orders or offer delivery service, but we hope to do this in the future. You need to visit us at our shop to enjoy our pops.”
Store hours are: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Mondays.
Hugh Kruzel is a freelance writer and committed foodie in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.