A young Goulburn Valley family are drying their corn to make local popcorn.

The Kennedy family have been farming in the Goulburn Valley since John and Pat bought a farm at Corop, west of Shepparton, in 1981. They are well known in the region, and you might even have a likeness of them in your pantry, as their faces are emblazoned on tins of SPC tomatoes, for whom they grow their fat, red, ripe tomatoes. The Kennedys even make an annual appearance at Melbourne farmers markets selling cases of seconds tomatoes ready for tomato sauce bottling season.

They grow chickpeas, lentils, wheat, canola, barley and faba beans as well as seasonal vegetables including eggplant, capsicums, cherry tomatoes, leeks, spring onions, silver beet, herbs and chillies. They even have a wine label, Kennedy Vintners, that makes some exceptionally good reds at Mount Camel near Heathcote.

In 2018, John and Pat’s son Sean Kennedy and his wife Emma were really feeling the effects of the drought and wanted to diversify their farm income. They also found they were exceptionally good at growing corn and that customers really wanted a popcorn product produced by a family interested in local, seasonal produce and committed to sustainability. Their response was to harvest and sun-dry whole cobs of corn ready for popping. The experimented with different varieties and now have a range of different popping corns, some on the cob, some sold as bags of kernels. They also make a delicious caramel popcorn made with butter and a touch of golden syrup.

Nothing is wasted at Kennedy Farm Produce. After the corn kernels are removed, the dried cobs are packaged and sold as fire lighters.

Products: Popcorn on the Cob and Caramel Popcorn