my list of possibilities to investigate on trips home is always jam packed but onopops just may be the one discovery i am most excited to sample this summer. the frozen treats with a locavore pedigree has a menu filled with tempting flavors blending sweet and savory to the approval of island foodie palates since its debut last month.
i was so excited to discover onopops (via the mu'umu'u heaven 'ohana, natch) that i checked in with founders and brothers joe and josh welch (of palolo and hawaii kai) to discover what inspired this frozen fusion of flavor. the story begins with a mexican paleta encountered during a mainland vacation. excited by the possibilities back in the islands, joe soon persuaded josh, who once whipped up wandering feasts for sf's ghetto gourmet, to move home and create culinary magic by concocting popsicle mixology with farm fresh produce and other island delights.
happily, the onopops 'ohana are committed to working with local producers like waianae's naked cow dairy, waialua's mohala farms, maui's surfing goat dairy and kula farms and plan to offer a seasonal selection of sustainable treats. lucky family and friends make up the tasting panel (and also pitch in at the growing number of farmers markets where you can find onopops) with the winning recipe added to the menu and made fresh in small batches leading up to market day.
current offerings include pineapple li hing, the poggs, ume-thai basil and the upcoming caramel shoyu . . . all for $3 a pop.
your mission, dear readers, is to seek out, sample and report back on your favorite onopops. sources include mu'umu'u heaven for windward friends, the wednesday afternoon farmers market at the blaisdell for townies, and hawaii kai on saturdays (the am makeke o maunalua market at kaiser starting next weekend; pm market at koko head elementary). and, kcc fans will be happy to know that onopops scooped up a spot for this weekend's market.
btw, if you really want to delight your party guests, nix the cooler and consider renting onopops' fabulous vintage brazilian cart (shown above; $50 plus $2 to $2.50 per pop to stock the cart) to add a little charm to your soirée.