By S Haslam
If you’ve ever been to Corndale you know it’s a pretty cool place: its beautiful undulating hills have a healthy, country feel; it has a lot of history, with many of the properties having been held for generations; there are sometimes great gigs at the hall; all the roads seem to lead there; and it’s the home of Corndale Popcorn.
‘We live on 50 bucolic acres looking down the valley in Corndale,’ says Richard Higgs, who is helping with the expansion of the popcorn business started by his father at the local markets. ‘It’s a lifelong dream for me. With three kids under five, it’s wonderful to bring them back to Australia after 30 years and in particular to the Byron area.
‘I’ve had an exciting, hectic and colourful live abroad in London, New York and Sao Paulo, including near misses with the IRA bombings in the early 90s and witnessing and living through 9/11 in New York. I really appreciate Corndale; it’s like a Utopia for me. I’m loving finally being back here to raise my family.
‘It’s a picturesque setting, in which everything is made by and with love. We also run Brangas (Black Angus and Brahmin) cattle on the property, but we love the popcorn business, because although it’s always been a small market business, it’s got quite a cult following that has led to people travelling a really long way to get their hands on it.
‘My father discovered kettle corn (so named because it was originally cooked in a cast iron kettle) when he visited New York after he retired. It has delicate balance: slightly sweet and lightly salted, not buttery and salty like we have in Australia.’
‘It’s also a great snack; it’s vegan, and dairy free, nut free, and soy free. It’s GMO free, all natural, without any artificial colours or flavours. We have Traditional (slightly sweet and lightly salted), Simply Salt, Maple, Cinnamon, Wild Honey, Cajun, and Caramel flavours.
‘We also offer a completely organic variety called Organic Sweet & Salty and we are currently working on getting that certified.
‘Recently, we’ve started making our popcorn a bit more available, so we’ll be going to more farmers markets. We’re also finding that the popcorn is a hit with guests at events such as year end parties, wedding and other special occasions. And of course we are making it available at boutique food and organic food distributors.’