Kevin Mc Garvey is the force behind Raglan Kettle Korn which has recently joined Grey Lynn Farmers Market.
When did you start Raglan Kettle Korn?
Four years ago, when Suzanne and I moved to Raglan to semi-retire from Auckland where I had lived most of my adult life. I ran a busy electrical business, so this is very low stress compared to that.
Why Kettle Korn?
Raglan is the New Zealand capital of popcorn. The “Sweet As” and “Big Popper” brands came out of Raglan. One of the local experts encouraged me to consider it as a side business. He gave me lots of valuable advice and it has grown from there.
How much popcorn can Raglan eat?
We live in Raglan and our business is based there but we don’t sell or make popcorn in Raglan. Our popcorn is all made and sold at farmers markets in Cambridge, Hamilton, Tauranga, and now Grey Lynn.
Why at Farmers Markets?
We quickly worked out that we needed to be where people are shopping for fresh groceries. We notice that people stock up for the week and then grab some popcorn on their way home. People tell us that they use it as a lunch box snack during the week.
You make the popcorn at the market
Yes – it is as fresh as possible. We make it in a large kettle over a gas flame, hence the name Kettle Korn. The cooking part is fun because it makes steam and noise, and it smells great. People are always curious about what is happening.
Tell me about the packaging
To keep the Kettle Korn crispy and fresh, it needs to be stored in an airtight container. That’s why we usually pack it in sealed plastic bags. We know that Grey Lynn Farmers Market customers are keen on returning and refilling containers, so we have introduced a trial of plastic boxes and we are delighted that customers are already bringing their boxes back for a refill.
We’ve also thought a lot about how to ensure that our soft plastic bags are recycled. There is a soft plastic bin in the foyer at the Grey Lynn Community Centre, where the market operates on Sunday mornings. We also encourage customers to talk to us about how to courier their soft plastic directly to recyclers.
How do you manage to be at so many markets?
We help other people set up a market and get established. Then we let them make it their own, with us providing support and advice in the background. Our aim is to help others get ahead by helping them into side-gig. It’s intended to be a part time business for these operators.
Is that why you have had so many people at your Grey Lynn Farmers Market stall?
Yes. Our eldest daughter Hannah and her partner Jorge (pronounced Hor-hay) will be taking over the stall. They live in Auckland and are enjoying meeting the Grey Lynn community.
Do you manage to get any free time in your “retirement”?
As others take on the market day activities, we get some time back. We’re enjoying getting involved in the local Raglan community. Suzanne volunteers at the local retirement home, I volunteer at the golf club and manage to play a few games most weeks. And of course, there are gorgeous beaches for walking our dog.
As published in Ponsonby News : June 2023