Residents of North Carolina’s Research Triangle compete for everything from scientific breakthroughs to basketball bragging rights. But thanks to LocoPops founder Summer Bicknell and her partner Connie Semans, Triangle dwellers have finally found something they can agree on — popsicles. LocoPops, named after the store that sells them, are a quirky, refreshing twist on paletas — Mexican-style frozen treats on a stick that Bicknell spent three months in Mexico learning to make. From the moment the first LocoPops launched in Durham in June 2005, the unique treats have been a hit. Since then, Bicknell and Semans have opened three more locations.
Unlike traditional paleterias, “[we don’t] limit our palates to one culture,” Semans explains. Instead, LocoPops experiments with sophisticated combinations of native and exotic fruits and adds herbs like lemon verbena, tarragon, and basil, which they buy mostly from SEEDS (South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces), a Durham-based nonprofit that connects urban children to nature through local, garden-based programs. In addition to the 10 “regular” paletas that are always on the menu (divided evenly between water- and cream-based options), LocoPops offers eleven “guest flavors” every week. Semans says they derive inspiration from all over—a ripe pear at the farmers’ market, an aroma that strikes a chord, even suggestions from customers. The result is a truly original, all-natural dessert (or snack) that the locals go loco for.
Rosemary Lemon Paletas
Recipe courtesy of LocoPops
¾ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
1½ cups water
1 cup sugar
1⅓ cups fresh lemon juice
- Place chopped rosemary into a lidded,nonreactive container large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid.
- Make simple syrup: In a pot, combine water and sugar. Heat on high, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Remove simple syrup from heat and pour over chopped rosemary. Cover and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
- Strain out rosemary, and add fresh lemon juice. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.
Story by Jessica Tzerman. This article originally appeared in "Plenty" in August 2008.