Throw a laid-back summer picnic with these King of Pops recipes

These recipes promise good vibes only

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King of Pops summer picnic recipes
King of Pops often wheels out an Airstream for gatherings

Photograph by Raftermen

Everyone in Atlanta knows King of Pops, the now-iconic local ice pop company founded by Steven and Nick Carse in 2010—but what about King of Crops? It’s the 67-acre, bucolic farm the pair bought in 2014 to grow the fruits and herbs for their pops, and it makes a great spot for a community gathering.

King of Pops summer picnic recipes
A homemade sign welcomes visitors to King of Crops farm.

Photograph by Raftermen

King of Pops summer picnic recipes

Photograph by Raftermen

King of Pops summer picnic recipes
Guests garnish hot dogs at the pickle bar.

Photograph by Raftermen

On a sunny day after a 45-minute drive west of Atlanta, I found myself in the countryside, turning into the gravel driveway. Before the party, which was hosted by KOP staff for friends and neighbors, I walked down to the fields where muscadines, melons, blackberries, blueberries, figs, and herbs like basil, ginger, and mint grow in abundance. Farmers had recently planted Asian and European pears and plums. King of Pops is the only ice pop company in the country that grows many of its own fruits and herbs, and they’re grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer. KOP works with local purveyors and sources in the neighborhood as well, like the nearby Working Cow Dairy for flavors like Cookies ’n’ Cream.

King of Pops summer picnic recipes
Strolling through the blackberry beds

Photograph by Raftermen

King of Pops summer picnic recipes
King of Crops farmer Stephen Dobek adjusts a greenhouse.

Photograph by Raftermen

King of Pops summer picnic recipes
Pickled peppers, onions, cabbage, and more

Photograph by Raftermen

The party was set up with the brand’s signature ice pop cart and bright rainbow umbrella, with balloons and festive tableware to match. There were happy toppings arranged for a hot dog bar with all sorts of homemade pickles and, of course, an assortment of pops. Refreshing lemonade was served with ice pops for dunking. The whole spread would be easy to recreate at home, and the bright vibe inspired me to host my own popsicles and pickles party this summer.

THE MENU

Hot dogs with pickled vegetables

Summer King of Pops lemonade

Farm Ginger Lemonade pop

Blackberry Honey pop

1Hot dogs with quick pickled vegetables

King of Pops summer picnic recipes

Makes 5 pint jars

Pickling Brine
1 ½ cups vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Raw Vegetables
2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 2 bunches)
1 jalapeño cut in half lengthwise
2 cups thickly sliced jalapeños, about 8 to 12 peppers
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 teaspoon whole dry cloves
1 teaspoon dry juniper berries
2 cups red onion (about 1 large onion), sliced into rings about 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 whole star anise
2 cups thickly sliced sweet peppers, about 8 small peppers
1 teaspoon whole dry coriander

Pack vegetable combinations into wide-mouth pint jars, leaving ½ inch of space at the top. Stir ingredients for brine into saucepan, and cook over high heat until boiling. Pour over prepared vegetables until covered. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate for 48 hours. Use tongs to apply liberally to grilled hot dogs—or just munch them on their own. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

2Summer King of Pops lemonade

King of Pops summer picnic recipes

Serves 8

Lemonade
4 cups cold water
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups simple syrup

Simple syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

First, make the simple syrup by warming the water and sugar in a small saucepan until boiling. Turn off the heat, and let cool until ready to use, or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Combine with cold water and lemon juice, and stir. Serve in a mason jar, and garnish with a pop.

3Farm Ginger Lemonade and Blackberry Honey Pops

Serves 10 each

Farm Ginger Lemonade
2 ¾ cups water
5 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons ginger juice
2/3 cup, plus 2 teaspoons organic cane sugar
Sea salt to taste

Blackberry Honey
1 cup water
1 pound (or a bit more) blackberries
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Combine ingredients for Farm Ginger Lemonade pops and Blackberry Honey pops in separate pitchers; transfer each to ice pop molds. Freeze overnight. Enjoy two flavors from the King of Pops.

Farm to Pop

25
types of fruits and herbs King of Crops grows across 67 acres

180
weight in tons of fruit and food waste turned to fertilizer at the farm by CompostNow each month.

2
number of farmers, led by Stephen Dobek, who manage the bounty

200+
number of fruit trees and bushes the company has planted so far in 2019. New experiments include goji berries, elderberries, and Asian pears.

$70
cost to stay in the modern tiny cabin on the property (via Airbnb). For day visits to the farm, visit kingofcrops.com to book a tour or sign up to volunteer for farm work.