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Island Pops: A Taste Of The Tropics In Crown Heights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Feeling under the weather one day, Shelly Marshall found herself with a particular craving: Soursop ice cream.

Soursop, a fruit she grew up eating in her native Trinidad and Tobago, draws comparisons to guava, strawberry, and pineapple.

"Everyone thinks it tastes like something different," she said.

Her husband Khalid Hamid made it his mission to track down what his wife wanted.

"We realized none of the ice cream shops were doing flavors like that," Shelly said.

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They got the idea to try making it at home, and soon, Island Pops was born.

"We are a gourmet frozen dessert company based on West Indian traditions and West Indian flavors," Khalid said.

In addition to their Crown Heights storefront, Island Pops offers local delivery and nationwide shipping. Ice pops include passionfruit, mango, and guava. Ice cream comes in flavors like nutmeg, sea moss, and, of course, soursop.

"Most of them, if not all of them, tie back to some childhood memory of ours in Trinidad," Shelly said.

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The coffee biscuit flavor, for example, reminds Khalid of his grandpa.

"His grandfather used to drink coffee and eat salted biscuits for breakfast," Shelly said. "He decided to incorporate that into a flavor."

One sorbet flavor, sorrel, is better known as hibiscus in the U.S.

"We call it Trini Christmas. It's seasoned with cinnamon and cloves, so it gives you that warm feeling when you're having it," Khalid said.

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While running Island Pops, Shelly and Khalid are raising two little kids, son Eli and daughter Ella.

"We're a young business, we have a young family, and they're all growing together," Khalid said.

"My son's in pre-K, and when everyone's talking about what their parents do, he says, 'My mom and dad make ice cream!'" Shelly said.

Shelly and Khalid take pride in sharing a taste of the islands with their children and with their Crown heights neighborhood, where many residents hail from the Caribbean. They often connect with customers over shared memories brought back by their ice cream flavors.

"We grew up in the islands. This is what we know, and that's our heritage," Khalid said. "Part of what we stand for is maintaining some of that Caribbean heritage."

Island Pops
680 Nostrand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(347) 232-1777

What's something few people know about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.

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