King of Pops

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The “secret” to what makes King of Pops’ Pops so delicious isn’t actually a secret at all, as you’ll see in this episode. But do note that the folks at this Atlanta-based company put a lot of love into the making of their delicious treats. The owners themselves will give you the backstory of how King of Pops came to be, and why they have “fans” instead of customers. And if you’re looking for a career that utilizes social media, these folks have that covered too!

Composting

Composting

We define Composting, and talk about why it’s a…ahem…natural part of what King of Pops does.

Freezing Point Depression

Freezing Point Depression

Texture is almost as important as flavor with these pops. So we take a moment to explain Freezing Point Depression and the role it plays.

SB4d

SB4d

With the help of King of Pops, we take Georgia Performance Standard SB4d head on, touching on some of the human causes of environmental change and why King of Pops buys locally.

Atlanta Metro

Special Thanks To

Stephen Carse, Nick Carse, James Carse, Remy Allen, Martha Bland, Liana Eden

KING OF POPS

VO

We're at the King of Pops, Atlanta's favorite frozen treat. And behind this door is the secret ingredient that makes their pops so delicious. Let's find out that secret.

REMY

Hey, get out of here! You're letting the warm air in! Daddy's here. Daddy's got you.

VO

Today Fast Forward is visiting a genuine mom and pop operation. Or at least a pop operation. Is there such a thing as a poperation?

In any case, we're visiting the King of Pop's! A company that was started a few years back when these brothers took a trip through Latin America and were inspired by a dessert they ate. So to understand what a pop is, it'll help to habla un poquito de Espanol.

STEVEN

In Spanish what we make is paleta. A paleta's more concentrated on fresh fruit.

NICK

Basically at the end of the day at market, they take whatever fruit is leftover and freeze it.

LIANA

We don't use like fake stuff in our pops. We use real fruit. There's no preservatives in it.

STEVEN

We have three levels when we make a product. The most important thing above all else is we want it to be really good. The second thing is local. We want to get as much local fruit as we can. Our third priority is organic.

MARTHA

Everything is handmade, hand cut, fresh squeezed fruit. It's just a different approach to, to a traditional desert. A little bit healthier and a lot of fun to make. There's a lot of love that goes into them as well.

REMY

Nature made it. We just amplify what nature already made.

VO

And with these pops, about the only thing nature doesn't do is freeze them. And speaking of that...

REMY

Life's not always sweet. Time for a teachable moment.

VO

Yep. And this one is about something called Freezing Point Depression. I'll let the owners take it from here. Nick?

NICK

Freezing point depression is very important as far as creating pops or any frozen desert for that matter. It can make the texture better or worse meaning softer or more firm.

VO

And exactly what is freezing point depression?

STEVEN

Freezing point depression is when you lower the temperature at which something will freeze. You take that into consideration because you want it to not be quite as cold, so you add salt. We add salt into everything that we make to depress the freezing point a little bit. Sugars can do that too. There's a lot of different ways you can do it.

VO

That's true, but it helps to understand that heat is the motion of molecules. More heat energy-more molecule movement. So the colder water gets, the more those molecules slow down. At 32 degrees, those molecules, which are all the same size and shape, line up nice and neatly side-by-side, forming crystals. This is where water goes from a liquid to a solid, and it's technically known as Phase Change. But if you add a solute, like salt or sugar to the solvent, those water molecules can't line up as neatly. So it takes lower temperatures-freezing point depression-in order to slow the water molecules down enough to form crystals.

Of course they do this naturally at King of Pops, because for them it's all about the flavor. And speaking of that-what's your favorite flavor?

NICK

Pineapple ginger on the fruity side, or Mexican chocolate on the creamy side.

REMY

Kiwi banana honey.

LIANA

I have two that I like go back and forth between- herbs de Provence lemonade and blackberry ginger lemonade.

JIM

Right now I'm on Thai tea.

MARTHA

My favorite flavor is grapefruit mint. That's the first one I ever had, and I'm still in love today.

VO

Great recommendations. And King of Pops has a pretty up-to-date system for letting people know what flavors they're serving, and where.

NICK

Social media's huge for us at King of Pops.

LIANA

We all use twitter and instagram and Facebook. That's like how we connect with our fan base. We tweet our menu every day: where we are, what flavors we have.

VO

Using social media in your job. I like that! What else can you tell me about working here?

STEVEN

Everyone does a little bit of everything. So there's kind of three things you can do. You can either be in the kitchen making the pops, you can be packaging the pops, or else you can be selling the pops.

MARTHA

We have someone in charge of all the food truck events and another person in charge of all of the farmers markets.

STEVEN

And everyone that sells has to go into the kitchen and make at some point. So they have that connection with the product. And everyone in the kitchen also goes out to sell so they can kind of have that nervous energy of when you hand something that you've made to someone that they've bought and you hope they like it to see if they really do like it or not. It's really powerful.

VO

So what do you look for in employees?

STEVEN

They can be young, old, college student, high school student. It's just a matter of someone that's excited and likes to engage the people that they're selling to. That's the most important part.

VO

How about her?

STEVEN

We don't want someone that's gonna be sitting there listening to their iPod and checking their phone all the time.

VO

Got it. She's been fired.

Anything else we should know about King of Pops?

MARTHA

Part of what's so cool about King of Pops is they strive to kind of be as environmentally friendly as possible. We compost whatever we can. So all of our fruit rinds, any pulp, any seeds, any skin, anything we can put back into the earth, we will.

STEVEN

The other thing we do is we try to buy things from as close to us as we can. The less driving there is, the less gas you're using and the more environmentally friendly that is.

JAMES

Most of the people in here are pretty green in their lifestyle too. It's good to see, and I know it's, they're protecting their future so it's, its' a good thing.

VO

Yes! The future-what is it for King of Pops?

STEVEN

We don't have a 5 year or 10 year plan. Now we have a kitchen in charlotte. We have a kitchen in Charleston and we have a kitchen in Richmond.

NICK

We don't want to have a manufacturing facility where you just have assembly lines and things like that. We really love what we're doing and love where we are right now. And if we can do it and bring it to other cities and bring it to other people that's great. But right now, you know things are beautiful for us and we're having a great time doing it.

MARTHA

Everybody gets along really well. And there's delicious things around me at all times. And it's just a lot of fun.

NICK

We have customers, but we mainly have fans. We have people who follow us around. They wanna know where we are. They wanna know what we're doing. Whenever they see anybody wearing a King of Pops shirt around town they immediately ask 'are you working for King of Pops? That's like the coolest job ever. And I think that's so cool to be able to have that response around the city and uh, we love everybody for it.

LIANA

I realized like last summer, when we had this big like festival at the end of the year, it's our field day, and I was volunteering at it, like and it was the end of the summer and I was like realizing oh if I'm willing to like, do my job for free I like love it, then like that's how I know I have a good job.

VO

Wow! Well said, Liana! And now, something tells me it's time for dessert. Thanks to King of Pops! But we'll see you on the next episode of Fast Forward.

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