WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Kernel — that got this Wallingford business “popping” — all began with a woman who truly loved her popcorn.
“My mom, Ruth Ford, adored popcorn, she had a bag everyday,” Robbin Jackson of Nutmeg Kettlecorn said.
Ruth was the Jackson family matriarch; she died of kidney failure in 2014.
In her memory, Nelson, her husband of 57 years, wanted to use some of the money she saved from her decades of work to do something special for the family — something he knew would have put a smile on Ruth’s face.
“Since she liked the popcorn so much, we should investigate to see what’s available for a store selling popcorn,” Nelson said.
That dream is now Nutmeg Kettlecorn.
Ruth’s daughter Robbin runs the store, Nelson handles cutting the ribbons, Phyllis takes care of the pretty packaging, and Robbin’s husband Herb is in charge of making all of the kettlecorn.
“Everything that we sell here is made with love and care and I make sure it tastes real good,” Herb said.
Robbin said what makes the kettlecorn stand out from the rest is the fact that their kettlecorn doesn’t have preservatives.
“There is a shelf life of approximately three weeks, but that bag is going to be eaten in ten seconds I promise you that,” Robbin said.
The store also features beverages from locally-owned companies like jewelry and fancy soaps. But it’s the kettlecorn that brings people to the party.
There are 10 flavors from strawberry to green apple and pink cherry. And, of all the great flavors of kettlecorn two are the favorites: caramel and salty sweet.
Loren Birtha has been a fan since before there was a store. Birtha grew up down the street from the Fords and remembers digging into the tasty treat at holiday gatherings.
“It’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet- and if you get a flavor it’s not too much flavor, I’m always nervous about cherry, it’s such a perfect amount of flavor- you just want to eat the whole bag,” Birtha said.
But as for actually seeing the kettlecorn being made — well, there’s not much luck with that.
“It’s top secret,” Herb said, noting that some things have to stay in the family.