POPS Artisanal Creamery (formerly Helados Pops) in San Fernando, CA is some of the best hand made ice cream around!
“Mother nature is our prime ingredient,” commented POPS owner Marthin Ken when The Knockturnal visited this gem nestled in the San Fernando Valley. Ken creates all different flavors of ice cream and sorbets almost daily and uses fresh, organic ingredients such as nutmeg, caramel, ginger, and coconut. These recipes have been in his family for 6 generations and are strongly tied to his Belizian culture. You can instantly feel the familial ties when you step foot into the shop.
“I never had a mentor who would say to ‘do this or do that,’ with the business. All I had was the love for ice cream and the vision of wanting to help my family. Gil (the man scooping ice cream behind the counter) is my step dad, my father in law works here, my brother as well, and my wife and I own the shop. My wife and I go to work everyday to full time jobs so this is truly a labor of love. I want to take care of my family and others in our community.” said Ken.
The Knockturnal was lucky enough to sample his famous flavors such as 6 generation old “Kriol Sweet Corn,” “Almond Avocado,” and “Cherimoya.” While these may not sound like normal ice cream flavors you would see in mainstream shops, they blow those flavors out of the water! These flavors were passed down through his family. “My grandpa John taught me how to make the Kriol Sweet Corn recipe and it’s something that I grew up eating.” Ken also makes flavors such as Cookies and Cream (which we loved!) and Rum Raisin. However, these flavors bring classic favorites to new heights by infusing the ice cream with Oreo cookies or rum first and then mixing in the Oreo cookies and raisins. He also brings a new taste to a traditional flavor like Strawberry with fresh strawberries and a creamier texture.
Ken gets his ingredients fresh every week from a local farmer. This farmer has connections with different farmers’ markets as well as his own groves where he provides Ken with some of the freshest ingredients. “I get it from Rick’s Produce and Rick will tell me, ‘Hey I’m picking them on Tuesday so I’ll have a pickup on Wednesday.’ And I’ll ask him if he can pick me some ripe ones right off of the tree. When you have a close relationship with a local farmer, you can do that,” said Ken. One of his most popular flavors, “Young Coconut Sorbet,” even includes up to 7 lbs of young coconut meat! You can also get your ice cream served in a hollowed out coconut or pineapple.
Ken is also very passionate about staying in local, suburban communities with families. He never wants real estate to dictate the value of the product as sky rise rents can sometimes force owners to cut corners with their product and charge higher prices. He doesn’t want to charge such a premium for his artisanal ice cream as he wants families to be able to afford this treat and wants to maintain his quality across the board. “I want my own personal principles to shine through when you walk into Pop’s.”
The Knockturnal highly recommends visiting this tucked away gem at 450 N Maclay Ave, San Fernando, CA 91340. They can also be found on their website at www.popsartisanalcreamery.com or at their Instagram @popscreamery or on Facebook.