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Published July 22, 2013, 10:15 PM

Tenn. transplant sets up homemade ice pop cart in downtown Fargo

FARGO – You could say that Nicole Kolbe is passionate about ice pops. The Tennessee transplant, who recently started a downtown frozen ice pop food cart called Gigi’s Ice Lollies, has fond memories of being given fresh, homemade frozen treats by her grandmother, for whom the food cart is named.

FARGO – You could say that Nicole Kolbe is passionate about ice pops.

The Tennessee transplant, who recently started a downtown frozen ice pop food cart called Gigi’s Ice Lollies, has fond memories of being given fresh, homemade frozen treats by her grandmother, for whom the food cart is named.

When she spent 10 years living in Atlanta, Kolbe says, she got used to a company there called King of Pops, which served different varieties and flavors of ice pops.

When she moved to Fargo a few years ago, she realized there weren’t any such options to refresh the palette during the summer.

“It was a hole for me,” Kolbe says, with her distinctive Southern accent. “I thought, ‘That’s exactly what Fargo needs.’ It’s something new and interesting and exciting that isn’t here.”

Kolbe decided to turn her Southern memories and fondness for refreshing flavors into frozen treats she sells each weekend in downtown Fargo.

‘Always going to be refreshing’

In May, Kolbe started communicating with the city to make sure she had the paperwork to start a food cart. She then created a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the $2,500 she needed to get going.

She reached that fundraising goal in six days, which she says is an indication that people in Fargo are interested in having some refreshing treats downtown during the summer months.

“That really shows me that this is something that Fargo wants,” she says.

She made her debut two weeks ago at her spot on Broadway and Third Avenue North. The cart stands out thanks to a rainbow-colored umbrella.

Some of the ice pop flavors and recipes originate from the same source as her cart’s name – her grandmother, Gigi.

Kolbe has eight total recipes for her frozen treats, which include vegan banana split, vegan blackberry mint, honeyed peaches and cream, vegan avocado, lime and tarragon, vegan frozen hot chocolate, lemon ricotta, Vietnamese coffee and vegan strawberry basil.

“They’re such different flavor palates,” she says of the recipes. “They’re always going to be refreshing.”

She sells two of those eight flavors each weekend. One ice lolly costs $3, or two for $5.

Kolbe says it was important for her to include both vegan and gluten-free options so the ice pops could be enjoyed by everyone.

She hand-makes each pop, using fresh fruit and local produce to mix up a batter. She then uses agave and honey, instead of artificial means, to sweeten the treats.

“It’s important that they be really good, but it’s also important that they be healthy,” she adds.

She then pours the batter into old-fashioned ice pop molds and freezes it for 24 hours. Later, she takes the frozen batter out of the molds and packages each one with artificial wrappers.

Not surprisingly, the process of making each individual ice lolly by hand can be somewhat tedious, Kolbe says. So if business this summer goes well, she hopes to look at investing in industrial-grade ice pop makers from Mexico or Brazil that use liquid-nitrogen freezing technology.

“We’re still a mom-and-pop shop right now, doing it one pop at a time,” she says. “But hopefully it becomes a really successful situation.”

Gigi’s Ice Lollies is open for business downtown 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Kolbe says she’ll consider expanding her hours to include weekdays if there seems to be demand for it.

“It’s something new and something fun,” she says. “It’s a throwback to my memories as a child.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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