In Backstage

Harvest in Nebraska

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

This is a quick story of where our corn comes from. Four years ago Quinn Popcorn was an idea that would have never been realized if we couldn’t find the right partners. Kristy spent the first year of Quinn Popcorn in her attic, Quinn in lap, and phone to ear. She was talking to everyone in our food system, trying to pull together all the pieces needed to make microwave popcorn in an entirely different way. Corn was a linchpin. It was a time of 99% dead ends. One of those calls was to Grain Place Foods. Dave, the owner, took Kristy’s call and over the next few weeks they talked corn and organic farming for hours. On our way to visiting Grain Place Foods we admitted to our expectations. Family run, deep passion for farming and food, and happy people doing their life’s…


Lemon is Moving On

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Sometimes life gives you lemons. If you loved our Lemon & Sea Salt popcorn, then sometimes is today. Lemon was one of our first flavors and a favorite of many here at Quinn. Our special, additive free, dried lemon is no longer available and Lemon & Sea Salt is going the way of Old Yeller, Mufasa, Bambi’s Mom…you get the idea. It’s an untimely end to a terrific flavor. Lemon & Sea Salt was created in Kristy’s home kitchen when Quinn Popcorn was more vision than reality. In our taste tests, Lemon beat out Peanut Butter and became one of the three flavors that launched the company. From day one, Lemon was a polarizing flavor. Those who love it, REALLY love it. Most didn’t know what to expect and needed a push give it a try. The thing is, Lemon…


Recyclable, Compostable, Plantable

Monday, May 19th, 2014

At events it’s fun to have something to hand out, but we didn’t want something that would just end up in the trash. Charged with the task, I started looking for something USA made and recycled. That’s when I came across seeded plantable pins here. After doing some more research I learned that not only was the paper seeded with marigolds and zinnias, the backing was compostable, the pin part was made from scrap metal, and attached with compostable glue made from egg shells. It took me about 2 seconds to realize that they were a perfect fit for us. We are pretty excited about handing them out and getting to tell people they grow flowers too. After a pin has been totally worn out (and seen by tons and tons of people) … all you have to do is remove…


Cardboard, Glue, and Patience

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The trade show circuit is a bizarre thing. For an obscene amount of money we get a tiny cube of space to occupy for three days. Our crew spends way too much time behind laptops and suddenly we are on our feet and putting on a show. We actually put a whole lot of energy into these shows. The idea being, if we are going to do it, then let’s really do it. For our first year we basically built a small house. The display weighed over a ton and we moved it around with a rented U-Haul truck. Crazy. More on that HERE When figuring out how to make our trade show booth, how to build a diorama of Quinn Popcorn, my goal has two parts. First, I want to do something so cool that people bring their co-workers…


Quinn, Now Ready to Eat!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

A little over two years ago we launched Quinn Popcorn by reinventing microwave popcorn. At the time, fixing microwave popcorn was the whole mission. The thing is, as our microwave popcorn gained traction we started to see that there’s a lot more work to be done. Now, I present our pre-popped popcorn, the first snack to offer a completely transparent supply chain. Microwave popcorn is an occasion snack. It’s almost like a bottle of wine in that you don’t pop it unless you plan on finishing it. I love that. It means that our popcorn is usually shared with friends and family. Pre-popped is different. It’s just so easy and convenient that it’s an anytime snack. You can grab a few bags before a road trip, not something that’s going to pan out for our microwave popcorn. We are kicking…


A New Home

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Kristy and I arrived in Boston five years ago to an apartment rented sight unseen. We drove 18 hours to get there with our dog Colby watching the changing landscape in the back seat. A dream job brought us there, and now pursuing our dream of owning our own company is sending us to a new home 2,000 miles away. Making a change this big is, well, just scary. It would have been so easy to just continue. We loved Boston but we felt a draw and, as usual, we followed our gut. Crossing the threshold happened in the same way that we started Quinn Popcorn; by lying to ourselves a little. We put our home on the market, assuring each other that it would take months to sell. A week later it was sold and we had 4 weeks…


Minutia, Core, and Epic

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

A year ago I quit my job and went full time at Quinn Popcorn. It’s been an incredible year, but Kristy and I are still learning how to run our own company. In truth, it’s a whole new skill set, and it’s a real challenge. Kristy spends half of her average day on the phone. When she isn’t on the phone she is tending to all the little items that haven’t gone according to plan. My day is similar except instead of being on the phone I’m locked into my computer working on graphic design, social media, PR leads, customer service emails, etc. It can be exhausting , but we rarely walk away from a day with a sense that we moved Quinn Popcorn forward. While it’s not realistic to expect epic wins on a daily basis, we should be pursuing…


We are ready to release our first new flavors since we started Quinn Popcorn! We have a super scientific methodology for creating new flavors. We try everything we (and you) can think of. Some are just okay. Other’s become staples at QP warehouse. That’s pretty much it. A big part of the year we spent getting Quinn Popcorn off the ground was spent testing flavors. We were so sure peanut butter & honey was going to be great, but it never got there. That happened a lot. Parmesan & Rosemary, Vermont Maple & Sea Salt, and Lemon & Sea Salt are awesome. If they sucked we wouldn’t still be here. They are still staples at QP HQ. We’ve eaten an unnatural amount of Parmesan & Rosemary popcorn. Our newest flavors came about in the same informal what-sticks-around matter. Hickory Smoked…


Food Startup Friends

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

When we started Quinn Popcorn we had no food industry knowledge. It was just the two of us, newborn Quinn, and an idea. Our lack of experience didn’t really worry us because we assumed that we would just learn as we went. That’s not exactly how it happened. The food industry is full of complexities and pitfalls. The industry is run by giants. Little fish like us need to be so careful. One egregious term in a distributor’s contract could cost a fortune. The food industry, however, has one incredible balancing force. The people are amazing. We receive priceless advice just about every day. Without our food friends we would be long gone by now. The teams at Little Duck Organics, Evol Burritos, Justin’s Nut Butter, Taza Chocolate, and other’s have helped us with everything from long term growth strategy to the…


Upcycled Biz Cards

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

We have new business cards. Is this a big deal? Nope. But we did it our way, and I think it’s pretty cool. It took us well over a year to get our first business cards. We had too much on our plate, and we wanted to feel like Quinn Popcorn was the real deal first. These cards were printed on recycled paperboard with a white husk. We were so excited we wrote a post about them. With new QP team members we needed more, and at a buck a card they simply cost too much. I’m detail nut, so Vista Print or other budget printers weren’t an option. We were stuck. Then Kristy got an idea. Every time we run a batch of our popcorn we end up with some leftover boxes. Because we are terrible at throwing anything away…


Thank You 2012

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Just over a year ago Quinn Popcorn was an attic run experiment selling in a few local stores. Now we are a national product available in hundreds of stores across the country. In the world of food we are teeny tiny, but it’s still hard for us to comprehend how much as happened in a year. It’s felt a lot more like 5 years. Roughly this time last year Kristy was the only person working for Quinn Popcorn full time. We rented a 200 sqft corner of a warehouse to pack up the popcorn. We were in about 30 grocery stores in the Boston area and in total we had only sold a few thousand boxes. The average day consisted of Kristy working with suppliers while helpers packed up boxes on fold out plastic tables. We were totally naive. We knew so…


Wood, Paint, and Band-Aids

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Using my hands to turn an idea into an object makes me feel good. I build things whenever I can. While starting a popcorn company fits, it’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the kinds of projects that start with a sketch and end a few days later with a sense of pride and a really sore back. This isn’t quite in line with what QP needs right now, and with only four of us, there isn’t room for hobbies. With that, I’ve sought out every opportunity to create what can’t be bought. It started when we needed white boards. A few weekends later and we had rolling magnetic whiteboards. They are as solid as rock, and used every day. Then we needed a spot to sit together. A place to eat and talk. This one nearly…


The New York Office

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

The Nets, The Islanders, Quinn Popcorn??? Well, it’s not exactly complete franchise relocation, but we do have a desk in Brooklyn now, which we all find pretty freaking cool! A couple of things came together to make this happen. First off, one of our friends and heroes, Little Duck Organics, took the plunge and relocated from Newburyport, MA to Brooklyn, NY last spring. Second, I, Kevin, the corn slinger and apparently obsessive user of commas, was offered an opportunity to get involved with Rattlestick Educates, a wing of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in Manhattan. Third, Zak, along with Adina & Adam of the amazing Sprout Organic Skincare, offered us a desk in their new office on the fifth floor of an old warehouse in the Greenpoint neighborhood with this view: We couldn’t say no. So now, when I’m in New York,…


Expo East Wrap Up

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Two years ago Quinn Popcorn was just an idea, Kristy’s idea in fact. We knew nothing about the food industry so we finagled our way into the Natural Food Expo, Expo East, held in Boston that year. It was a pretty mind blowing experience with lot of brands making some seriously good food. It was intimidating, but at the same time we couldn’t help but imagine when we would be one of those brands. Last week we were.


Let it Rain

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Ken, a trustworthy, brilliant, master story teller, and investor in QP, asked C.V., Kevin, Coulter and me what we feared most during our monthly meeting today.


Pulling It Together

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

These are our first business cards. Yup, it only took us 20 months. At first I would give an “I’m a naive entrepreneur” smile when asked for my card. It was kinda funny in a pathetically hopeless kind of way. Later I just started saying that I was so sorry, but I had left them at home. It was getting embarrassing that we didn’t have enough time to fit in making a few business cards. While the business card is a symbolic win for me, we are just getting beyond stomping out fires and doing some really fun stuff.


Going Full Time

Friday, May 25th, 2012

 Prior to yesterday I was working at IDEO, one of the most creative and inspiring companies in the world. Today I am working for Quinn Popcorn. This is a pretty big bullet point in the Quinn Popcorn timeline and in my timeline as well. (I found the above photo in a Google search. It’s perfect and filled with some of my favorite IDEOers.)


The Summer Crew

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This summer is going to rock. Literally. I know the blog has been quiet for a while, but we have been busy planning the next few months. We are doing tons of events and we have a crew of interns coming on board. It’s going to be a blast.


Just Cheese Please

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Quinn’s favorite food right now is cheese.  In the morning, “cheese pwease”, afternoon, “moe cheese”, evening, “cheese!”


Packing Past Dusk

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

I haven’t packed a single Quinn Popcorn box in weeks. We have hired a small army of packers to assemble, case, and palletize our popcorn. I think they packed around 2,000 boxes today! Lucky for me, I was able to join in on the fun from 6pm-8pm.


QP’s Newest Addition

Monday, March 26th, 2012

When searching for warehouse/office spaces I forgot one thing, a loading dock.  Well, I didn’t actually forget it, I just didn’t think it would matter that much. I was so focused on finding a clean and large space, that I mistook a very large garage door for a loading dock. I somehow thought it would do the trick.


Edible Love

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Edible Magazine:  Edible Manhattan, San Francisco,  Austin,  Chicago, Brooklyn, Seattle, just to name a few. Then there is Edible Boston.  I have lived by it, and have studied it, for the past few years.


Genetically Modified Organism

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I think it’s time to shed a little light on this whole GMO thing. As a techno geek, I find the topic fascinating. I mean, we are reaching in and manipulating a plants DNA so that it can serve us better. As a person who is eating the stuff, however, I find the topic a little terrifying.


The State of QP

Monday, February 13th, 2012

It’s been too long since we gave a overall update, so here goes. Last week we packed and shipped the last of our popcorn from Batch 2. Six weeks ago the warehouse was so packed with pallets that it was hard to move around. Now it’s nearly empty. That wasn’t supposed to happen this fast.


With A Little Help From Our Friends

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Launching Quinn Popcorn has been a ride. One minute we are hanging on a shooting star, and the next second we get blasted off. Both the constant highs and the severe reality checks keep us grounded, but what keeps us going are the customer emails and comments we have received along the way.


A Little More DailyCandy Recap

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Coulter and I just received some of the photos and video taken during the DailyCandy Start Small Go Big event back in October. Wow, October. That feels like a billion years ago.


The War Room

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

While I’m being facetious with that title, it’s actually not that far off. The battle begins anew every night when I get home from my work, and Kristy gets home from the QP warehouse. The shot is of our typical landing spot, the kitchen table. It was late and we had moved from wine to hot chocolate. Somehow “war room” and “hot chocolate” just don’t seem to fit together. Oh well.


A New Year Ahead

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Coulter and I rang in the new year watching Harry Pottery- Deathly Hallows.  We started Star Wars, but the DVD skipped to a halt due to our dog Colby’s customary mail slot attack. A few hours later we dropped right after the ball did. The night was a very calm end to an incredibly eventful year. Yes, we had popcorn. 


Live on Chronicle

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Okay, so it wasn’t live, but there were no retakes so it might as well have been. About a week ago the film team from the Boston area TV show Chronicle stopped by and filmed at our warehouse. It was mostly unexpected as we hadn’t really reached out to them. They heard about us through word of mouth and thought QP would fit a show they were doing on Boston area food companies. So awesome. (Yes, that’s and enormous shark in our warehouse. Thats for another post…)


Lemon Rework

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

About 6 weeks ago, smack in the middle of trying to get Batch 2 underway at our co-packing facility, I wanted to pull our Lemon flavor. Yes, you read that correctly. All lemon lover QP fans would have been extremely disappointed.


Portland or Bust

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Quinn Popcorn’s reach is slowly growing, and connecting with our consumers is getting more interesting (and challenging). We spent this past Sunday demoing in the Portland Maine Whole Foods. The drive there was about as long as the visit, but it was well worth it for several reasons. The above photo was from a ridiculously good coffee and doughnut shop we found along the way. More on that later.


One Busy Thursday

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

The Holidays are officially upon us and this week has been a total blur.


QP Back Online

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Wanted to quickly let you guys know that we have been packing nonstop so we can have QP available for the holidays. Batch two is in full swing and we are finally back online!


Up & Running!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We have been pretty silent during the last few weeks, but a lot has happend! Batch 2 has taken longer than we had hoped. We have had minor bumps in the road, walls to scale, log jams, etc., but now it’s all coming together!


Red Rooster Harlem

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

If you live in NYC the Red Rooster is a hopscotch game away in Harlem. We visited the restaurant and met with the owner during our DailyCandy Start Small Go Big event. It’s a pretty neat place and here is why…


Batch Two – Light Speed is Too Slow

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

We are making a lot of popcorn this time. Four times more than what we did last time. That’s a piece of cake for our suppliers, but it still takes time to get everything together. It’s going as fast as humanly possible, but that didn’t stop us from running out of our first batch. Sure, in some way it feels great that the first batch sold out way faster than we ever imagined, but it’s not good for our customers. We are moving as fast as we can to finish up batch two and restock our retailers. We are running at ludicrous speed.


Potential

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

That’s our new warehouse. It’s 1700 sq ft of empty right now. Ostensibly it looks like no more than big slab of concrete with fluorescent lights hovering overhead. It’s actually much more than that.


Calm Before The Storm

Friday, November 11th, 2011

We have a few weeks until our next batch comes in. There is a ton of prep involved, but thankfully, I have been calling our suppliers daily, and everything is in order…right now. It couldn’t come soon enough as we have almost no popcorn left and in a week, some shelves will go bare.


Overdrafted

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

See that up there, that’s our second batch getting underway. Or at least that’s my slightly abstract interpretation that allows me to smile at the concrete truth of a credit card that is overdrawn by $9k.


CEO,CFO,COO, C*%

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I spent the better half of last night looking up internal structures of companies whom Coulter and I both admire.  We are about to get very busy, and I am nervous that  if we don’t have some sort of guidelines/ownership in place, things will get too crazy, and we will loose control.  


Interviewing In Pajamas

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

About two weeks ago I made a desperate plee for help on our local T.V station, NECN.   “Please, we need interns!”  We do, we need help, and the following week while I was interviewing them, I clearly backed that statement up.  


Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

A friend and one-time colleague reminded me of the above saying recently. Since then I have repeated it roughly ten times a day. Kristy is ready to kill me, but she knows that it is true. It’s simple, but it’s helping us be more deliberate.


Quinn Popcorn + Liz Chatfield PR

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

When we first started Quinn Popcorn our parents were our biggest fans. It’s easy to watch your children take on a promising career / paying job, but I am sure its a bit hard watching them jump off the deep end; first born, dog, mortgage, car payments, school loans, etc in tow. It would have been easy for them to say, “your on your own, good luck”. We are lucky it didn’t go that way. (The photo is of our spot in the New York Times.)


DailyCandy & NYC

Monday, October 17th, 2011

 (Me on 3 cups of coffee by 11am….. I crashed at 4pm* FYI.) Coulter and I attend the DailyCandy Start Small Go Big mentorship last week. It was kind of ridiculous. The day was packed and each event was incredible to say the least.


Whoa, Amazon Sold Out

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

You guys cleared out our Amazon inventory! We blew through the pallet of popcorn in about four days. Running out of stock is a good sign, but it’s no good for those who are waiting to grab a box. It is still available at Hickoree’s Hard Goods and Abe’s Market and we will get more corn to Amazon as soon as we can. It looks like we will be packing boxes next week!


An Ally In Whole Foods

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Kristy started talking to Whole Foods well before we had a product. I think the first meeting was only 3 months into it. We didn’t have any flavors yet, our bag wasn’t figured out, and we didn’t even have any branding put together. Nonetheless, the local foragers took the time to talk to Kristy about the concept and gave us some great suggestions on pricing and packaging. That was about 10 months ago, and Whole Foods continues to be an incredible ally. The photo is of Kristy having lunch with our microwave after handing out samples of Quinn Popcorn to 70+ Whole Foods managers.


Batch Two – Bag Edits

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

All of the feedback we have received on the Batch One page, through email, and in person, has been helping us make some changes for the second batch. It turns out that things we thought would be sticking points were easy, and the things we never thought of ended up being sticking points. First up for edits is the bag and instructions. Take a look at the draft below let me know what you think. It’s impossible for me to be subjective at this point and thus your feedback is invaluable!


Amazon Is A Go

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

We have been working on this for a while and written several posts about it and now our popcorn is finally available on Amazon. Well, most of it is. The variety pack sold out in two days, and due to a glitch the lemon will be available on Monday. Go take a look here!


Don’t Fall Off!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

This is exactly how I feel right now. I am trying to hold on…grasping to stay on this ride… “steady.. steady, you can do this!”   Although, I think this cowboy just one upped me on this one. He is so darn graceful! (We took this shot in Montana at a July 4th Rodeo. Such good times!)


Pallet Out

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I felt like I was sending my child off on a school bus for the first time. I didn’t want to part with this pallet, partially because its about 1/8 of our popcorn. It is, however, out the door and on its way to Amazon.


A Snippet From Today’s List

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

If you have noticed, I tend to write updates when I am so overloaded I don’t know what to tackle next. Therefore, check out the totally insane to do list below!


Morning Show Debut

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We were so cool and collected up until we stepped onto the set. This was another one of those terrifying-but-feels-great-when-it’s-over things. Actually, Steve was so welcoming, and that made it easy.


Demo Rhythm

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

We have only demoed Quinn Popcorn twice at Whole Foods, but the experience so far has been pretty awesome.  Surpassing our wildest expectations and leaving us hoping that it will continue!


One Year Old

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

 Our son Quinn just had his 1st  birthday, and Quinn Popcorn turned one a few days after that! This past year has FLOWN by, but It has been one of the most interesting years I have ever had. I was packaging in the warehouse today, still trying to get Kickstarter packages out of the door, when I realized that I was actually assembling Quinn Popcorn boxes!?!


Demo Done

Monday, September 19th, 2011

So, that first demo went amazingly well. We were totally unprepared, our setup was generic at best, and we sucked at the one sentence summary. There is a lot we will improve on, but we still sold out all the boxes on the shelf, all the boxes Whole Foods had bought in preparation for our demo, and all of the extra boxes we had in our car. Better than that, though, was the feedback from customers.


Demo # 1

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Tomorrow is our first demo. It will be at the Hingham Whole Foods from 11:00 – 1:00. I shouldn’t be, but I am a little nervous. While the support and positive feedback keeps mounting, this is the first time we will be interacting with customers in a grocery store. It’s a little like that day before vacation feeling. I have been looking forward to this for a while, and all of he sudden it’s about to happen.


And The Winner Is…

Friday, September 16th, 2011

About 3 days ago we were way behind in Daily Candy’s Start Small Go Big contest. Honestly, I had given up. I stopped hounding friends for votes. I hoped they would just forget about it. If it wasn’t going to go well I just assumed it happen quietly… Then, something remarkable happened. I started to see little signs that everyone else was pulling for us. I had given up but they hadn’t. I went to Daily Candy and checked out our standing and we were winning. Holy S$%t, how did that happen?! Kristy and I were blown away. So, in the end we took the trophy. We are so excited, but more than that, it feels wonderfully warm and fuzzy. Everyone pulled for us. They made this happen. That feels pretty good right now. Thank you. We will post all the details…


Batch One

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Our Kickstarter backers are just starting to get their popcorn, and we are just starting to get some feedback from them. It’s been amazing so far. Lots of good things, some not so good things, but all of it is constructive and will help us make the next batch better. You might have noticed the new page in the menu up top called “Batch One.” This is basically a spot to put all of your feedback on our popcorn. We love the emails, but it would even better to write it there.


Vote Vote Vote

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

We had almost given up on the Start Small Go Big competition but we just pulled into the lead. You guys are amazing, but it won’t last. Please go vote for us here. This just might work!


1st Shipment Out

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

We had plenty of boxes packed up over a week ago, but we finally got our first set of Kickstarter boxes out tonight. We knew figuring out our shipping system would be tough, and it’s finally up and running.


Getting Started With Buyers

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

In order to qualify as a local vendor, you need to package your product in a facility not more than 250 miles away from that grocery store. Since we are going to be filling our product in our kitchen, that is once we have it certified, we will qualify as being a local vendor since we are only 4 miles away.


My “Just Get It Done” List

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I need to come up with a better way to write/say “To Do List”. It is so uninviting that it makes me NOT want to do it. So my “Just Get It Done” list says, “stop whining and just DO IT”.

I bring this up because like everyone else in Boston, this weather is getting to me…. snow/sleet/ice/rain etc. = “snow fatigued” (I can’t take credit for this saying. I sadly read it on Facebook yesterday, but it best describes how I feel this morning.)


Inside Out Bag Video

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

A quick recap on this experiment: I cut the top off of a regular microwave popcorn bag so I could really see what was happening. You can see the susceptor really working in the video as quickly boils the oil. For more info read the original post…and the rest of the blog!


Defining the Brand

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Foremost we want to emphasize that out product is natural, and unmolested. Microwave popcorn currently feels manufactured and synthetic while ours should feel cultivated and pure.
Quinn Popcorn should feel fun but also sophisticated. A bit of a dichotomy I know. We don’t want to be the Doritos of the popcorn isle but, then again, microwave popcorn shouldn’t be serious. It’s is a treat often enjoyed socially, with friends, family, and/or children.
Our popcorn should feel accessible to anyone, yet it should also be seen as a treat, a small luxury. This is tricky because it shouldn’t feel like a high end tea or chocolate. It shouldn’t seem precious. Microwave popcorn is devoured rather than savored and we want to keep it that way.


Extracting Oils From Plants

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

So I did some research and found that there are three main ways to extract oils from plants and it is important! How the oil is extracted really does matter.
You may have noticed the different oil options that are available to you on the shelves of your super market, specialty store, etc, etc. Canola oil, for example, might say, “expeller pressed” or “cold pressed” on the bottle. Or it might just say “canola oil”.


Just One Handful…

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

So at this point, I have a love hate relationship with it. Every time I test a flavor, I make a full bag of popcorn to test it with. You would think after a couple of handfuls I would be able to put it down. Nope. I can’t even stop eating it even if I find the flavor horrible! I eat the entire bag…. every time. As much as I love popcorn, I don’t want to end up looking like a puffed kernel.


Status Update

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

There are just a couple other topics we need to tackle… Things like brand development, graphic design, launch plan, product pricing, distribution, fulfillment, co-packaging, popping yield, user testing, nutrition info, upc codes, brokers, demos, promotions, marketing, etc.


Microwave Bag Experiments

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

I know I have already said this but we need the bag to be distinct. The bag is something that all other brands share. Our bag should be a part of our brand standing apart. It should reinforce the notion that we are reinventing microwave popcorn.


Peanut Flour

Friday, January 7th, 2011

I received peanut flour from a farm in Georgia today. I am A. really excited to try our Honey & Peanut Butter flavor and B. really excited to bake some gluten -free chocolate chip cookies.
We began testing this flavor with regular peanut butter. We mixed it with canola oil over the stove and then poured it on top of the popped kernels. This resulted in a gooey mess, which is fun, but not really appealing. We also used regular honey. This didn’t work at all. The honey fell right off the kernels.
After nagging and hounding about using dry ingredients, Coulter finally gave in, and I was able to purchase 100% dehydrated honey powder, and roasted peanut flour. Both ingredients covered the kernels really well. They only thing, since the flour is pretty dry to begin with, we don’t want to use a lot of it because it becomes cakey and pretty much sticks to the roof of your mouth. We also found that you need to use a lot of it because the flavor gets lost in the honey. So, that said, I am on the hunt for peanut flour that really pops. I have found that there are 4 different options for us: A light roast at 12%, a dark roast at 12%, a light roast at 28%, and a dark roast at 28%. The darker roast is a stronger flavor, but I hear that it can be a bit bitter. I have not tasted this myself, so can’t say yet.
More to come when I have this all figured out!


Bag Material Options

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

We want to avoid coatings such as plastic, wax, or silicones that are needed to make regular paper grease proof. Remember that we are applying oil to the bag as part of the prep process. The oil would soak right through a plain paper bag leaving your hands covers and probably ripping the bag.

Glassine is a paper product that you are probably familiar with but the by a different name, parchment paper. Unlike paper, glassine is naturally grease proof; no coatings needed. Essentially glassine is paper that has been run though a series of rollers that smash the wood fibers into alignment in a process called supercalendering. This rolling and pressing give the paper its semi-clear and grease resistance properties.


Discovering Flavors

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Between all the sourcing and problem solving we have been diligently trying out tons of flavor combinations. Over the past few months we have col­lected spices, herbs, and cheeses from around the globe; from Himalayan salt to Croatian sage. Millions of possible combinations and only a few hundred tried so far!


Popcorn Bag Dissection

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

I wanted to pull apart a popcorn bag to see what makes it tick. It seems crazy but the bag is really an engineered system that is optimized for popping popcorn under the influence of microwave energy. A brown paper bag works just fine but somehow the modern microwave popcorn bag has become pretty complex.


Expo East

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

A friend of ours who started a food company a couple of years ago suggested that we attend The Natural Products Expo East in Boston. We are obviously not ready to exhibit our product, but we were able to go as “buyers” so we could take a look at what we are up against.


REWORK

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Okay, here is my take in a few sentences. Rework makes you more aware of all of the distractions, excuses, and general crap that keep you from getting anything done. It’s about less analysis, and more experimentation; fewer closed doors, and more open conversations; fewer excuses, and more doing. It’s the kind of book that helps you become aware of truths that you always knew but never properly acknowledged.


The Preparing Experience

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Microwave popcorn is a product that was designed and marketed for convenience. Instant coffee and Lunchables are also convenient. Can you guess where I am going with this?


The Popcorn Bag

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

The popcorn bag is going to be one of our biggest hurdles. The existing bag is optimized and proven but it’s not going to work for Quinn Popcorn. The synthetic materials that exist in the current bag don’t fit with our all natural brand pillar.


And A Little About Me, Coulter

Friday, December 10th, 2010

The way Kristy and I work in the kitchen really sums us up.  With Kristy at the helm even a simple meal results in every measuring cup, mixing bowl, utensil, etc. spread across our tiny counter.  The result, I must admit, is always unique and usually amazing.  The kitchen stays clean while I cook.  Things are much more systematic, by the book.  I know, lame, but sometimes the food is pretty good.


A Bit About Me, Kristy

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Instead of sitting on the couch watching the Food Network all day (I would if I could but we don’t have cable) I make phone calls to bag manufactures, write emails to the Massachusetts Board of Health, research suppliers, distributors, test organic vs. non organic herbs and spices, and try and come up with some pretty unique and interesting flavors. That’s the easy part. The hard part is that there is a ridiculous amount to learn, and I feel lost half the time!


Why Popcorn

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I grew up making Jiffy Pop on the stove.   I am sure you are all well aware that there were pros and cons to this event.  Pros:  making it with my sister, taking turns shaking it on the burner, watching the tin foil bubble magically grow. Cons: burning your fingers while trying to get to the burnt, tasteless popcorn.