A food entrepreneur widening the market for farmers and consumers
Across Georgia, entréeprenuers are opening avenues for farmers and consumers alike. This article is part of a series profiling these local heroes. Click here to see more.
Company: King of Pops
Founder: Steven Carse
When we asked Cory Mosser, founder of Natural Born Tillers, what kind of shape the King of Crops farm was in when he first saw it, he asked us how long we had to talk.
Let’s just say the project was not for the faint of heart.
King of Pops, the up-start popsicle company taking over the Southeast, bought 68 acres in Winston for their own farm in 2014.
In one purchase, King of Pops expanded their market potential exponentially. Now, they’re able to have a company-wide CSA, sell produce and pops at farmers markets, get the nursery back into gear, lease out part of their land, and, eventually, host events on the property.
But it took quite a while just to get to that point.
After months of trying to crack the dead soil poisoned by conventional herbicides and pesticides while navigating gravel and staples, losing plants to dead soil, losing more plants to a faulty irrigation system, Mosser advised leadership at King of Pops – the owners of King of Crops – that it was time to hire a full-time Farm Manager.
Russell Honderd was the perfect candidate. It’s been a little over a year since he was hired and a lot of hard work, but the property is slowly becoming a farm.
“We did grow a little bit last year but most of our work and time was spent on getting the infrastructure in place to move forward as a farm,” said Honderd. “This year we began our hoop houses, we have about three quarters of an acre that we’ll be growing in. And then we have three half acre fields that we’ll be doing for vegetable production and installing an additional three quarter acre field of blackberries.”
The plan, Honderd says, is to get an additional acre back into production each year.
The goal is to make everything beautiful.
They’ll be installing native trees, flowers, and grasses to help with erosion control, water conservation, and to bring in beneficial insects and pollinators.
“There’s a beneficial element to everything we put in,” Cooper Starr, formerly of Trees Atlanta, told Georgia Organics.
That level of utility and beauty won’t be ready for years, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to dazzle this summer.
Neil Ringer, Head Fruit Juicer at the new King of Pops Bar & Good Grub in Ponce City Market, says customers can look out for a melon pop entirely grown from the farm that features an old Tennessee melon variety Honderd found last year.
Even better, the melon flavors can be layered for a rare swirly pop.
It’s a thing of beauty.