It’s one of our favourite snack foods, but popcorn has come a long way from the butter-flavoured bag at the movie theatre. Shriner’s Creek Kettle Popcorn in Thorold is taking a bite out of the gourmet popcorn trend.
It all happens in a giant kettle. In go the corn kernels, and they start popping in minutes. The result: popcorn with a wood-burned flavour you get popping corn around a campfire.
“It’s a lot of corn. The smells in here are unbelievable.”
“This is where the magic happens.”
Pauline and Harold Shriner and their kettle corn business have come a long way over the past 13 years. They began on the road with a tent and a trailer. “We had a table, we had our cooker, we had our tent, and we had passionate enthusiasm.”
And they had some good luck too. A few years ago a vendor at the CNE needed caramel corn fast. Pauline was thinking maybe 500 bags, but they said: “‘we need thousands’. We went into water up to our necks and probably over our heads at the time, but we did it and that’s how we launched.”
Right into their shop on Highway 20 in Thorold and a big production room in the back, they bring in a ton of corn kernels at a time. The Shriners used to use corn shipped up from the U.S. But for the first time this year they’ll be using non-GMO corn grown right here in Ontario.
They can make up to 330,000 100 gram bags every week, shipped right across the country, in all kinds of flavours: from cappucino to cookies and cream, to maple flavour loved by the Japanese.
And then there’s the caramel corn – 13 kilos of popcorn.
“And that’s how it’s done at Shriner’s Creek!