How Sweet It IsThe driving force behind Oxsicles, a thriving local brand of handcrafted ice pops serving up a lot more than meets the eye.
BY LIZZIE MCINTOSH
PHOTOS BY DANNY KLIMETZ
While few things can temper the swelter of a Southern summer, one local business has a pretty sweet solution.
Oxsicles, a gourmet ice-pop company in Oxford that sets up shop at local events and marketplaces around town, offers an array of handcrafted ice pops made with fresh ingredients and sweetened with local honey instead of processed sugar.
Lauren Klimetz is the driving force behind Oxsicles, buying the name and rights to the brand in 2016 after learning to make homemade popsicles in her kitchen.
“I was having friends over and handing all the kids those horrid plastic tubes of sugar liquid,” says Klimetz, who grew up in London, England, before making her way to Mississippi about 15 years ago. “One of my friends was talking about how his mum used to make her own popsicles, and I was like, this is a thing?”
Klimetz started experimenting by freezing leftover smoothies she made for her children. The first flavor she whipped up—now a regular item on the menu—started when her son asked for a “green” popsicle.
“I said, ‘Green’s not a flavor; it’s a color,’” Klimetz says. “He said, ‘Mum, you put spinach in it,’ and I thought if my 4-year-old is [willing to] eat spinach, then I’m going to make it.”
From there, the Green Machine—a nutrient-packed blend of spinach, pineapple, and avocado—was born.
And a business idea soon followed.
Klimetz uses all-natural ingredients in her pops, most of which are a dairy-free conglomeration of fruits and vegetables, along with honey from Mardis Honey Farm in Taylor. Oxsicles has 14 flavors in rotation, including two “Puppy Pop” flavors made with a rawhide stick for dogs trying to beat the heat. There are also seasonal flavors including Watermelon Mint, a summer favorite Klimetz concocted using watermelons from a friend’s farm. She sometimes uses Oxsicles’ social media platforms for innovative recipes she might whip up using whatever she has on hand, such as Spicy Green Lemonade—a blend of ginger, mint, lemons and zucchini.
Though Klimetz spent most of her life across the pond near the other Oxford, she’s visibly attached to life in Mississippi.
“This is my home,” she says. “This is where I have grown to be who I am. You come here, and you work out what it is to be who you are.”
Klimetz’s day-to-day suggests she’s part-Mary Poppins, part-Wonder Woman, devoting her time and energy to just about everything she loves. It’s a charming kind of chaos she shares with her husband, local photographer Danny Klimetz, and their collective brood of children, dogs and chickens.
For someone always on the go, Klimetz shows no signs of slowing down or wanting to. Even in conversation she quickly shuffles through topics she loves talking about, from growing up in London to the fig tree in her backyard.
Unsurprisingly, she says her biggest struggle with running Oxsicles isn’t a lack of energy, but a lack of time. “Knowing what I need to do but not being able to do it is the biggest struggle right now, but I think that’s true of any small business owner,” she says.
Given its popularity, Oxsicles clearly has the potential to grow far beyond individual orders and a cart at the farmer’s market, but the beauty of the brand—and perhaps the key to its success—undoubtedly lies within its sweet simplicity. Klimetz says hands down the best part of her job is when she can make customers happy.
“As a mother, you are constantly yelled at—’I don’t want to put my pajamas on,’ ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ ‘I don’t want to eat my broccoli.’ You are constantly the bad person,” she jokes. “A 60-year-old man told me last week that my popsicle was the best thing he’s ever had.
“I think I eat good food. I just love when other people love it too.”