Ono Pops my Hawaii local food obsession (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

While in Honolulu recently for the Hawaii Social Media Summit, I picked up a copy of Pacific Edge Magazine and read a blurb about the growing number of pop-up (mobile or temporary) businesses, including Hawaii’s local ice pop maker OnoPops.

The word ono means “delicious” in Hawaiian.

The pop makers pride themselves on only using ingredients found in the Hawaiian Islands, and they combine them in unusual but yummily imaginative ways to make distinctive OnoPops flavors.

Starfruit Lemongrass.

Dark Chocolate Chinese Five Spice.

Butter Mochi.

Crackseed Lemon Peel.

Ume-Thai Basil.

The quest was on to find these things while we were in Hawaii, but they are usually sold from the OnoPops truck at local farmer’s markets, and I never could seem to organize my schedule to arrive at the right time. I was only in Hawaii for a week, and I HAD to try them.

When my daughter (who traveled with me) and I found a Whole Foods Market in Kailua on the windward side of Oahu, I thought surely we’d score some, but no luck. As we walked out into the store parking lot, however, we saw a group of people all eating some sort of ice pops. Could it be….the elusive object of our desire?

“Excuse me, but are those OnoPops y’all have?” I asked (“y’all” translates quite well from Texas to Hawaii.)

“Yes, they are, and they are AWESOME.” said one woman. Most of the group was pretty drunk, but I didn’t care as long as they stayed coherent and answered questions.

“Where’d you get ’em?” I asked. Everyone pointed at the Whole Foods building we’d just left; apparently the OnoPops were in a little portable freezer near the pizza deli.

We turned right around, went back in and loaded up.

I can tell you that the strawberry ones in the photo were super-creamy, sweet and rich. The strawberries are from Kula Country Farms in Maui, and the goat cheese is from …. I kid you not …. Surfing Goat Dairy on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano.

The biggest challenge besides finding them is trying to eat two before they melt, because you can’t only have one.

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