By Nicole Crosbie
Andi McDaniel and Sarah Newberry didn’t dream of creating their own gourmet ice pop business as little girls. In fact, when they discussed the concept for an ice pop business, they hadn’t ever created a successful ice pop (freezing both apple cider and chai tea proved to be unappetizing). In a short period of time, these two women mastered the art of creating delicious and aesthetically pleasing ice pops using farm fresh, natural ingredients and started the first gourmet ice pop business in the Twin Cities, creatively named 10,000 Licks.
Andi and Sarah met at a friend’s wedding and quickly discovered their mutual love for Minnesota. Andi and her husband were in the process of moving to Minnesota from California and Sarah had recently moved to the Twin Cities from Rwanda, where she had been working as a music therapist (she lived in Boston prior to Rwanda). The idea for an ice pop business was in the back of Andi’s mind after she discovered an organic ice cream shop in California that served sweet corn ice cream, but it wasn’t until she tasted Sarah’s homemade ginger ice cream at dinner party that the idea really came to take shape. The women thought that Minnesota’s intense, short summers, in addition to its creative and supportive atmosphere, made it the perfect place to start a gourmet ice pop business.
“It’s [Minnesota] is such a creatively collaborative place and it’s easy to go out on a limb and do something creative,” Andi said. “Here people get behind you so immediately and are eager to help you make it happen.”
While the women have been met with a great deal of support and positive feedback, starting their own business has proved to be challenging. Each day has been a new learning experience as Andi and Sarah experiment with ice pop flavors and learn the proper steps one must take to start a food business in the Twin Cities. Creating the pops and testing out new flavors has been one of Andi and Sarah’s favorite parts of the process and they have spent a great deal of time testing and retesting recipes to get the perfect ice pop. Using organic ingredients was extremely important to both women, not only for nutritional and taste purposes, but also because Andi and Sarah want to support their community. They get almost all of their produce from an organic distributor and from local farmers markets.
Andi and Sarah are constantly experimenting with new flavors and manage to find combinations that are unique, yet appeal to a broad market. Current ice pops flavors include: strawberry basil, watermelon mint, cantaloupe ginger, Vietnamese coffee, lavender lemonade, sweet corn, vanilla beet, blueberry lemon grass and rhubarb. Their ice pops can currently be tasted at the Fulton’s Farmers Market (and can also be ordered for private parties and events).
Andi and Sarah have been having a lot of fun throughout this whole process and they are excited for people in the community to taste their ice pops.
“There’s nothing more fun than seeing someone eat your food,” Sarah said. “Whether I’m just cooking a dinner for six people or if I’m making pops for a party I have the same–and I don’t know if it’s healthy–, but I get a really nice boost from people enjoying what I’ve made.”
To learn more about 10,000 Licks, visit http://www.tenthousanlicks.wordpress.com.
Nicole Crosbie loves fashion and shopping, she has lived in Minnesota her whole life and loves finding new places to shop, eat and explore in the Twin Cities. She has degrees in public relations and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.