Disney is now selling gourmet cocktail and wine pops by Inverness, Florida’s Pop Fusions at a mobile cart in front of Via Napoli at Epcot World Showcase and inside the Pizza Ponte restaurant at Disney Springs.
Recently, we visited Pop Fusions’ shop in Inverness, FL to get a behind the scenes look at how these gourmet ice and wine popsicles are made. I actually got a chance to go through the process of removing the popsicles right from their freezing machines as well as do a little taste test.
On our visit, they were making a test batch of liquor-infused limoncello pops with real lemon rinds frozen in. These popsicles blue me away with the very deep and real lemon flavor – I wanted a whole case of these to go, but sadly I will just have to wait.
Founded by friends Kelli O’Grady and Nancy Glessner, the pair recognized there was huge gap in the market with the need for a fresh and healthy, real fruit snack. They wanted to create a fruit pop that was not diluted with artificial sweeteners and flavorings while using the freshest Florida ingredients.
In the summer of 2016, they went and bought a 1966 vintage airstream vending trailer, shined it up, signed it up and were in the ice pops business within 30 days of the purchase.
Kelli had spent her childhood in the kitchen – her favorite place in any house. While her friends were reading “Seventeen “ magazine, she was reading cookbooks like they were novels. Before starting Pop Fusions, she spent a few years in the baking business doing highly detailed cookie decorating and baking as well as cupcakes and cakes. She tells us that, “I love that food is often tied to memories.”
When they set out to start their business, they wanted to create a personal relationship with their farmers and knowing that the fruit they use is fresh. All of the pops also serve a health conscious market by being: gluten, dairy, nut, and soy free. The fruit pops are hand cut, blended, poured and then flash frozen. Pop Fusion’s gourmet wine pops are created using locally sourced, fruit and Florida’s own Island Grove Wine Company’s wines.
“We wanted to change the “ me first “ mentality and highlight other companies products and to partner with them. We love “ fusing” other brands into ours to create something special. Whether it’s a farm, a winery or a brewery we love community!” Kelli said.
Today, they are operating a state-of-the-art, allergen free, facility inside a small house off of the main street of Inverness and can make up to 100,000 gourmet pops a week, staffed by Trevor Van Voorthuijsen, production manager, with help from Kelli’s mom, Dianne Lakeman.
Interview with Kelli O’ Grady, Owner of Pop Fusions:
Tasty Chomps: What were some of your biggest challenges in the beginning?
Kelli O’Grady: Our biggest challenges have been distribution. Moving a frozen product throughout the country is a tall order. We have taken a craft fruit pop and made it accessible to many. Learning the ropes of how to do business with larger corporations while not compromising the mission of our business (knowing our growers , knowing our buyers , family first , having fun , enjoying the journey) has been challenging.
What are some of the most popular flavors right now?
Since opening our 1966 airstream camper window “ Florida Orange “ has been a best seller. It’s like taking a bite of a freshly picked Florida orange! 2nd place is probably our Sangria pops. We teamed up with Island Grove Wine company to create them .
How did this all become a success?
Success …. I’m always hesitant to call it success but if I were to I would attribute it to the incredible people we have surrounded ourselves with but particularly our customers . We have created flavors with our customers in mind. Customers and patrons that care about what we are trying to build and understand the value of real food made with a real purpose.
What makes Pop Fusions stand out?
I hope it’s that we leave an impression ! I hope it’s that you take a bite and say wow that’s the best thing I’ve ever taken a bite of ! I hope we have been part of creating a moment that you remember forever and I hope it’s that you hear our story and fall in love with us and our team and root for us to succeed .
Some of Pop Fusion’s Wine Pop Flavors include:
Berry Sangria Wine Pops – made with Island Grove Wine Company Sunshine State Berry Sangria blended with cold pressed Florida blueberries, oranges, lemons, limes & zest,
White Sangria Wine Pops – made with Island Grove Wine Company Sunshine State White Sangria blended with pineapple and mangoes.
Backporch Peach Wine Pops– made with Island Grove Wine Company Backporch Peach wine blended with fresh lime dipped nectarines and peaches.
Some of Pop Fusion’s Fruit Pop Flavors include:
Honey Dew Coconut Kiwi – Handcut honey dew with pure coconut water and kiwi—vacation on a stick!
Strawberry Basil – Delicious ripe strawberries blended with fresh from the garden basil.
Blackberry Vanilla – Cold pressed blackberries perfectly sweetened with bourbon vanilla.
Watermelon – Our fabulous watermelon pop with a fun twist of mint.
Florida Orange – Florida Navel and Valencia oranges juiced to perfection with zest. Tastes just like biting into a fresh orange!
Strawberry Lemonade – Freshly squeezed lemonade blended with cold pressed strawberries and garnished with whole strawberries.
Blackberry Lemonade – Freshly squeezed lemonade blended with cold pressed blackberries and garnished with whole blackberries.
Blueberry Lemonade – Freshly squeezed lemonade blended with cold pressed blueberries and garnished with whole blueberries.
Strawberry – Fresh strawberries blended with cane sugar and a squeeze of lemon.
Pineapple Mango – Fresh pineapple blended with mango and cane sugar.
Power Pop – Organic kale, fresh pineapple, banana, limes and tangerines blended with local honey.
In addition to Disney Springs and Epcot, Pop Fusions ice and wine pops are available locally at Lucky’s Market. They can also ship to anywhere in the US.
For more information, visit: http://popfusions.com/