POP STAR OF THE KING VAL­LEY

North East Living Magazine - - Contents - words Caitlin Sar­tori photos Marc Bongers

From her kitchen on the farm, Sharyn Car­lesso is prov­ing that there is a de­mand for her bou­tique King Val­ley Pop­corn range.

THE rolling hills of Greta West com­bined with an in­no­va­tive idea from Sharyn Car­lesso has al­lowed the mother of two to cre­ate her own full time busi­ness from her kitchen.

She is dis­pelling the myth that pop­corn is only for en­joy­ment while watch­ing a film but in­stead a treat to have on the kitchen ta­ble or at a pic­nic with her grow­ing King Val­ley Pop­corn range.

A num­ber of homemade melt-in-your-mouth flavours are avail­able with Sharyn’s pop­corn which is sold at mar­kets in North East Vic­to­ria and by a hand­ful of lo­cal stock­ists.

Eight years ago, Sharyn and hus­band Rob packed their bags and shifted from Mel­bourne to their Greta West prop­erty.

“When we would say to peo­ple that we were mov­ing from Mel­bourne, they were in­ter­ested in the life­style that we would have,” Sharyn said.

“We say to them now, this is what you can cre­ate.

“We had hol­i­dayed in the area, done week­end trips and we had al­ways wanted to move where it was pretty.

“It is a pretty spot, the prop­erty has views of Mount Buf­falo.

“We took a leap and the area has cre­ated op­por­tu­nity here; we have shown we can cre­ate op­por­tu­nity.”

An artist at heart, Sharyn first made popped corn to sell along­side her paint­ings at mar­kets and on the first de­but, it quickly sold out, much to her amaze­ment.

Sharyn sources her corn seed from the South­ern Rive­rina where masses of Aus­tralia’s pop­corn de­mand is grown.

“I was cu­ri­ous to how it grows and if you can plant it here but can only grow one va­ri­ety at a time oth­er­wise it cross pol­li­nates,” she said.

“In­stead of fo­cussing on grow­ing masses of pop­corn, be­cause then I would have to be a farmer and not do what I do, I’m re­ju­ve­nat­ing some heir­loom va­ri­eties.

“I have done some re­search and there are tonnes of heir­loom va­ri­eties that are re­ally hard to get your hands on.

“So the seed bank that I’ve been able to grab is from ev­ery nook and cranny of Aus­tralia that I can find. “It is a pop corn va­ri­ety. “Within pop corn, you’ve got your but­ter­fly, mush­room, yel­low, ruby red which are re­ally short, re­ally dark ruby coloured fat cobs, not your skinny cobs.

The pop­u­lar­ity of Sharyn’s line of gourmet and gluten free flavours have in­spired her to cre­ate what she says in a world first.

She is cur­rently in the process of get­ting pa­tent for her new pop­corn prod­uct - popped corn flour.

Not corn ker­nels milled down (be­cause that would be po­lenta) but popped corn milled into light and fluffy flour.

“I’d had some great feed­back from it, it was just my house, my kitchen, lit­tle old me,” Sharyn said. “The feed­back was in­sane. “It makes gluten free pasta and it doesn’t break up, it’s like nor­mal, wheat pasta.

“It cooks and be­haves like nor­mal, wheat flour but it will pro­vide an­other gluten-free flour op­tion.”

King Val­ley Pop­corn sur­passed its first year birth­day in busi­ness in Jan­uary and Sharyn says it is just the be­gin­ning of what was an un­ex­pected ven­ture.

“Ev­ery week­end we are out at mar­kets and when we’re not at mar­kets, we’re pop­ping corn to keep up with de­mand,” she said.

“I’ll have peo­ple come past (at mar­kets) and say ‘Oh, I don’t like pop­corn’ be­cause they’re re­fer­ring to what you can buy at the movies.

“Peo­ple’s knowl­edge of pop­corn is of ar­ti­fi­cially flavoured pop­corn.

“When I started do­ing it, in­tegrity of food is im­por­tant to me, I did want to air pop it, I didn’t want to do it any other way be­cause why add when you don’t need to add.”

Visit www.king­val­ley­pop­corn.com.au or search ‘King Val­ley Pop­corn’ on Face­book.

CRE­ATIVE FLAIR / King Val­ley Pop­corn is Sharyn Car­lesso’s unique busi­ness run from her Greta West prop­erty. Pop­ping corn is a full time com­mit­ment for Sharyn as her range of gourmet, gluten free pop­corn is in high de­mand.

BURSTS OF FLAVOUR / Sharyn Car­lesso is work­ing on a popped corn flour and has suc­ces­fully pro­duced tasty baked treats ( pic­tured) from flour milled at her home.

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