The best thing about her gourmet ice pop business, Pam Raphael says, is the flexibility and freedom it gives her to spend more time with her kids. Our vote goes to the fresh, sweet taste of her pops – not to mention the smooth, icy texture, equally delightful in a raspberry-melon or a fudgy chocolate-banana.
AZ Pops was born in August 2011 out of Raphael’s desire to give her kids a healthy snack after school. Since then, she’s carted her pop stand to local farmers’ markets, selling eight to 10 rotating flavors. A best seller is prickly pear with lime, made from cactuses Raphael harvests herself.
The business is a family affair. Her culinary-school-trained husband helps develop flavor profiles, like a refreshing cucumber and toasted sesame, and a new flavor, goat’s milk, fig and balsamic. Her kids, ages 10 and 12, help sell her pops at farmers’ markets and special events, and have even started suggesting new flavors, like guava-mango.
Find the pops at area farmers’ markets and at Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market. Visit the website for the farmers’ market schedule and a complete list of flavors. $3 each.