A Popping Great Idea

King Valley Popcorn. Photo: TruPics

An accidental business has sprung up in the King Valley, creating gourmet flavours of popcorn, as well as a new product that’s even impressed a two-hat chef.

When human resources and recruitment specialist Sharyn Carlesso was in-between projects, she explored her creative side, taking some of her art to the Violet Town markets.

“I’ve even had a two-hat chef sample and trial my products and he said he can’t fault it”

While she hoped to makes some sales of her artwork, Sharyn had a “Plan B” to ensure she covered the fee for her stall and fuel – selling some popcorn on the side.

“I don’t really like popcorn, but my family love it,” Sharyn said.

“I researched some popcorn flavours and discovered a salted caramel popcorn recipe that looked great, made a batch of that and it sold out within an hour.”

King Valley Popcorn founder, Sharyn Carlesso at Beechworth Farmers’ Market.

The next visit to the market, Sharyn was armed with extra batches of popcorn that again sold out quickly, and so a business idea was formed and King Valley Popcorn was created.

“From that point on, I started finding out about other farmers’ markets in the region, making more batches and now it’s a full-time job,” Sharyn said.

Not content with simply creating popcorn, Sharyn has also innovated a new flour made of popcorn which she hopes to sell commercially by Easter.

“It emulates wheat flour in baking,” Sharyn said.

“You can make pancakes, biscuits, cakes, puddings, pasta – it’s amazing. I’ve even had a two-hat chef sample and trial my products and he said he can’t fault it.”

Although the Greta West business has only been established less than 18 months, Sharyn is already dreaming big.

“I want to understand everything about popcorn, so I did my first trial crop last year,” Sharyn said.

“Within popcorn there is a load of variety. I’m growing some ruby red, or mini strawberry popcorn at the moment.

“I’ve been able to source about 12 different heirloom varieties across Australia and over time I’d like to build up a bit of a seed bank, with true, clean varieties of popcorn.

“I’ll also have a farm gate shed up and running for sales and bring school groups in so they can find out how popcorn is made – pop their own, flavour it and walk out with a bag of popcorn.”

King Valley Popcorn’s range includes the popular salted caramel, rocky road, chocolate covered salted caramel, chilli & parmesan, cumin, coriander, chilli and herb to name a few.

For details on their full range and stockists, visit their website, and look out for them at local farmers’ markets www.kingvalleypopcorn.com.au