In early February, most of us are more likely to find ourselves curled up with a cup of hot chocolate than daydreaming about ice pops. But The Hop owners Greg and Ashley Garrison are naturally ahead of the curve when it comes to frozen sweets.
With the Jan. 30 introduction of a brand-new stand-alone freezer at the Gas Up on Haywood Road, the Garrisons rolled out a new prepackaged product aimed at kickstarting thoughts of summer: Hopsicles.
Inspired by Mexico’s paletas, or fruit-heavy frozen pops, Ashley Garrison has been developing a primarily nondairy menu of Hopsicle flavors that will incorporate fresh fruits, spices and herbs. Banana-Nutella-fudge, peach-bourbon, blueberry-lime, strawberry-coconut milk and mint-lemongrass are a few of the varieties that Garrison has been working on. She’s also looking at doing a beer-cicle with a local Belgian or saison as well as spicy varieties that incorporate fruit and chili peppers. “The beauty of this is that you can just experiment and play with flavors,” she says.
The additional space and equipment at The Hop Creamery, The Hop’s recently opened Haywood Road production facility and tasting room, is allowing the Garrisons to expand their business and investigate new products, Garrison says. While selling prepackaged vegan and dairy ice cream in pints and scoops is nothing new to The Hop — the company already has freezers at a few locations, including Laughing Mask Candies and the UNC Asheville Student Union — the freezer at the Gas Up is a test run of sorts for the company’s new frozen pops. “We’re sort of working out the kinks right now,” says Ashley Garrison, “and we’ll look at doing a full launch during warmer weather.”
In addition, Greg Garrison says that if the stand-alone freezer at the Gas Up proves to be popular, they may consider expanding the concept to other gas stations.
For now, look for Hopsicles at the Gas Up, 405 Haywood Road, 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. For more details about The Hop, visit thehopicecreamcafe.com.
No one expects to find fresh, local tomatoes this time of year, but there are still plenty of reasons to head out to tailgate markets — especially when they are indoors. Two markets are operating indoors on Saturday mornings through the winter months, offering everything from winter greens to baked goods to fresh eggs: the YMCA Winter Market and the Asheville City Market. Previously at the Woodfin YMCA, the YMCA Winter Market has moved to the fellowship hall at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, and the Asheville City Market has moved inside the Public Works Building next to its regular outdoor spot at 161 S. Charlotte St. for the colder months. At both markets, it’s the early bird that gets the veggies. Be sure to arrive early if you want a chance at winter greens and vegetables.
YMCA Indoor Winter Tailgate Market, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 789 Merrimon Ave., 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays through March 28.
Asheville City Market, Public Works Building, 161 S. Charlotte St., 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays through March 28.
The Asheville Art Museum will host its annual Toast Asheville fundraising event on Thursday, Feb. 5, with toastworthy beverages flowing from a bevy local brewers, wineries and distributors as well as Asheville cocktail events production company Spirit Savvy. The evening will also feature tastings from area restaurants and a silent auction featuring art and gift packages. Tickets are $30 in advance for museum members and $35 for nonmembers or $40 at the door.
Toast Asheville, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Square. 253-3227 or ashevilleart.org
Talking Dirty Happy Hour
Charlotte Street businesses Rose’s Garden Shop and Metro Wines are partnering to offer an unusual — and educational — sort of happy hour to help get garden lovers through the winter. During Talking Dirty Happy Hour on Wednesday evenings during February and March, guests at Rose’s will receive a complimentary glass of wine and geologist Joe Scott of Metro Wines’ Asheville School of Wine will be available to answer questions about the type of wine served and the vineyard soil that produced it. Shop owner and author Rose Bartlett will also be on hand to discuss her collection of plants, antiques and accessories.
Talking Dirty Happy Hour, 5-6 p.m. Wednesdays through March 25, Rose’s Garden Shop, 211 Charlotte St.