By Clint Kimberling
Popsy Popsicles in Tupelo started as a part-time business venture for Chance Beck and Blake Whitehead started in response a growing trend across the southeast for upscale popsicles. But these are not your parent’s popsicles from the grocery store freezer. Popsy sells hand-crafted treats, making use of gourmet flavor combinations and made with fresh, local ingredients.
There’s not much that pairs better with a hot Mississippi summer day than a cold frozen treat. And now Popsy is bringing refreshing frozen treats to Northeast Mississippi for a third summer. Although the pops are sold out of a mobile pushcart equipped with a freezer, they are prepared in a commercial grade kitchen using a machine that will allow them to freeze up to 88 popsicles in 27 minutes.
Some of their most popular flavors are strawberry lemonade, blueberry cheesecake, chocolate (think classic fudgesicle), key lime pie. They also offer some healthier options like blackberry yogurt, blueberry bananas, as well as a gluten-free option that is sweetened with maple syrup and coconut water. While they always have staple flavors like the ones above, they are constantly testing new recipes and adding new flavors and seasonal selections. For instance, peaches and cream and salted watermelon for this summer.
Taylor Neal, a marketing manager at Popsy, emphasizes the simplicity and freshness of their recipes. “We strive to use minimal ingredients,” she says. “And we seek out the best ingredients like organic agave, organic cane sugar, fresh fruit, Tupelo honey, and local produce when it’s available.” She admits some ingredient sourcing outside local markets is involved. For instance, it can be difficult to find pineapples in Mississippi.
Using the freshest ingredients in their treats is very important to Popsy. Neal reiterates their commitment saying, “The local ingredient movement shouldn’t stop at dessert. And that includes treats like popsicles.” And no need to feel guilty about indulging; each treat offers a serving of fresh fruit and is only about 90 calories.
Popsy has grown quickly over the last three summers. They expanded last summer by adding a second cart which allows them to sell in two places at once. The Popsy carts are a fixture at summer events like outdoor concerts and ball games. Beck and Whitehead have eventual plans to open a storefront location that would be a place for people to gather, sit down, and enjoy a coffee with their pops.
Popsy’s delicious frozen treats are now available in four other Mississippi towns including Greenwood, Oxford, West Point, and Starkville. In Starkville, Popsy treats can be bought at Bops Frozen Custard on Highway 12. Neal is excited about their new relationship with Bop’s Starkville, a household name both in Starkville and on the Mississippi State campus and a family owned and local franchise. Popsy prefers to support locally owned businesses. “We’re real excited about it,” she says. “Plus, they have a drive through which makes it even more convenient for customers.
While it may seem that the Bop’s menu and popsicles are competitors, Neal sees it an expansion of their offering. “Bop’s customers may want something a little different, something on a stick. This allows them to mix and match orders and also provide a healthier option. Also, we encourage to take home 10-15 to keep in the freezer at home. It’s a nice treat keep on hand, especially during the summer.”
Popsy makes a blueberry and buttermilk flavored pop that takes on a marbled maroon color, perfect for the Starkville and Mississippi State market. Neal also assures me that a Bully Pop is in the works. Football and pops don’t necessarily go together, but it sounds like a perfect accompaniment to those early season football games when the temperature still feels like summer.