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Pola - The Notts Company Making Sustainably-Sourced Ice Lollies

22 May 20

We talk to the brains behind Pola, the Nottingham independent company creating sustainably-sourced ice lollies filled with plenty of tasty homegrown ingredients...

You’re sitting on the edge of Old Market Square: the sun is shining, the atmosphere is alive, and you’re feeling proper chilled out. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see a guy wheeling a cart around selling ice lollies. Yeah. You could scoff one of them up right about now. That guy is Isaac Greenway-Tambini. He’s been selling his popular Pola ice lollies on the streets of Nottingham for about a year now, and is prepping for another summer on the roads… 

“Since the age of fifteen I've been wheeling and dealing, re-selling electronics and things like that, so I've always had that entrepreneurial spirit,” Isaac tells us. “I never fancied doing an office job. One day I went to my career's development at uni and they ran an enterprise programme, which I completed and won some money from. After that, I bought an old school ice cream cart, renovated it, and got some branding help from my mates.” He then got his peddler’s licence, which lets you sell all around the UK as long as you're mobile – aka always moving, as well as your cart being a certain measurement. 

Isaac’s icy trading roots go back to his great-grandfather, who sold ice cream in Wales as an Italian immigrant. His Pola ice lollies also still have a family connection – many of the ingredients are sustainably-sourced and homegrown, such as the rose petal cordial made from his mum’s prized flowers. “We have elderflower trees in our garden which we use to make cordial, and then apples and blackberries from our allotment. The food I source is generally from a mile radius of our house, and we work with Nottingham farms for a few of our other flavours,” he says. “We get our raspberries and strawberries from Starkey's, and the mango one is made using Pakistani honey mangoes from a market stall in Hyson Green.”

The hot weather has come quite early, and has given me a kick up the arse!

After a successful summer selling around town last year, being stocked in Nottingham haunts like Homemade and Albert’s, and a huge weekend at The Vegan Campout, he started to see his hard work pay off. Naturally, he’s faced some coronavirus-shaped setbacks, which means you probably won’t spot his cart in the streets anytime soon. But he’s got some brand new tricks that will soon mean you can get in on the lolly action: “I’ve registered with Uber Eats; it will be me and my little brother delivering them!

It will all be local delivery, and I’ll be selling packs of five, ten and fifteen,” he tells me. “The hot weather has come quite early, and has given me a kick up the arse!”

Are you living away from Nottingham at the moment, but still craving some of that sweet stuff? Isaac’s sorting a solution for that too: “I'm working with a food scientist at the University of Nottingham to help me create postal ice lollies so that people can freeze them at home,” he says. “I'm currently testing how to make them shelf-life stable so that they can be left unfrozen and still be safe and tasty to eat. It also means I’ll be able to reach new audiences, which is really exciting.”

So why save your chops for a ‘boujee’ (as Isaac says) Pola lolly, instead of a cheapie pack from the local shop? Isaac argues: “A lot of supermarkets use fruit concentrates, fructose and artificial flavours, and on the packaging, they may say natural, but if you read the ingredients list that’s often not the case.” He continues, “We're very transparent in what we use – fruit, water, and a bit of cane sugar. We will also be the world's first compostable ice poles, so we're not only going to be a healthy alternative, but also more sustainable too.” When you’re able to get your mitts on one, lounge in the garden on your poshest chair with it. Imagine you’re back in the Square, and get all relaxed. Add that to the comfort of knowing you’re doing your bit for the community and the environment and… Ah. Sorted.

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