Sol Pops began as half epiphany and half "mutual dare" between longtime friends Aaron Harmon, Noah Cable, and Danielle Koppel. It was a Sunday, they were all getting ready to go get some brunch, talking about how they didn’t want to have to go to work inside the next day. Aaron said, wouldn’t it be great to just have a lemonade stand where you could be outside all day? Noah said, no-even better-wouldn’t it be great to get a lawn chair, a cooler and sell some popsicles? Danielle said, "Let’s do it!" It turns out that there’s quite a bit more to it than that, however...
Inspired by Locopops in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (where Aaron and Danielle used to live), along with a handful of other gourmet pop makers scattered throughout the U.S., we decided to make paletas, a frozen fruit bar that originated in Mexico and has become popular throughout Central and South America. Paletas are made with whole fruit and fruit juices, and come in many interesting flavor combinations. The result is a much denser, chewier pop than an American popsicle. We spent some time training with a Mexican family from Michoacán that owns one of the few traditional paleterias (pop shops) in Oregon. They were very kind and showed us how they make their traditional Mexican paletas.
We also decided that Portland would be a great place for a gourmet and wellness paleta business because of the thriving food scene (Portlanders are known for being "gastronomically adventurous") and the health consciousness of many of the people who live here. We also felt that the community would appreciate a company that focused on sustainability issues and emphasized local and organic ingredients.
Last season we made pops at Genies Café on SE 11th and Division. This year, Sol Pops opened its new popsicle factory at 2120 NE Oregon Street, directly across from Urban Grind and adjacent to Sunshine Dairy. The 10,000 square foot warehouse and commercial kitchen is also the commissary and offices of our friends at Laughing Planet Cafe.