To me and many others, summer means popsicles. In elementary school my teachers gave us popsicles every few Fridays as summer approached. Since then, popsicles are something I associate with the warm season.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eating a popsicle during a scalding day in the summer. Jim Watkins, owner of Steel City Pops, totally agrees. In his bio, he explains that one day he and his family stumbled upon a unique shop called Las Paletas, which is the Mexican word for popsicles. After tasting the “gourmet, brightly colored, all natural and healthy” pops, he decided everyone needed to know about them. And so, Steel City Pops was born.

Photo by Katherine Baumstark

Steel City Pops is a family business that has grown to various states of the US. The initial popsicle recipes were developed by Watkins and his mother. He found support from family and friends, especially his 4 sons who became his first employees. Their first store opened in Homewood, Alabama, and thankfully spread to Auburn.

Photo courtesy of @scpauburn

Steel City Pops is different from all others. They pride themselves on making gourmet pops with all-natural ingredients, no refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup, and local produce when possible. All pops are gluten free, vegetarian friendly, and the fruit pops are dairy free. This is to allow everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, to find a pop they can enjoy.

Their flavors are what draws people to Steel City Pops. They have everything from traditional flavors such as Strawberry, to more exotic flavors such as Pineapple Jalapeño. No matter what you’re craving, Steel City Pops has it.

Photo by Katherine Baumstark

The menu is split up into Fruity Pops such as Lavendar Lemonade, Hibiscus, and Blackberry; Creamy Pops such as Chocolate, Coffee, and Blueberry Cream; and Cookie Pops which include a piece of cookie in the center of flavors such as Lemon Icebox Pie and Vanilla Chocolate Chip. They also sell coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.

I recently spoke with Austin Scott, a student who has been working at Steel City Pops for two years. He believes Steel City Pops is unique because of the all natural ingredients used to make each popsicle. He says, “Whatever we make them with, is the flavor they’re named for.” He also loves that Steel City Pops is a family business that strives to benefit other local businesses and buy from local farmers. His favorite flavor is the Avocado Pop or Strawberry Lemonade Pop.

Photo courtesy of Steel City Pops Facebook

Not only does Steel City Pops pride itself on its popsicles, it also has a great philanthropic focus. They make it a point to give back to the community as well as all around the world. Locally they work with Triumph Services, which provides jobs with people with disabilities; and The Exceptional Foundation, which helps people with special needs. Globally they support NeverThirst as well as Provid, which both help provide clean drinking water to third world countries.

Photo courtesy of Steel City Pops Facebook

So cheer up your tastebuds this summer and make a stop by Steel City Pops to get a tasty popsicle give back to multiple great causes. If you won’t be in Auburn for the summer, check out their website to see if there’s a location near you. Now if you need me, I’ll be at Steel City Pops trying out the Pineapple Jalapeño pop.