Archive for the ‘Springfield’ Category
The Connecting Point show on the PBS station WGBY in Springfield did a segment on Steve’s operation at the Springfield farmers market! I went out that day to help pop and hang with him and see his offspring. Steve got his own kettle corn tent when I moved to Onset 2 years ago and has been doing extremely well for himself. His fetish is to go to ski resorts, set up the tent there and pop in the snow and the cold. Go nuts Steve! Personally – I’d rather move to Maui and pop under a palm tree. He’s been calling himself “Velma’s West”. I pretend to show up from time to time from the ‘corporate’ office and give him a performance review.
SPRINGFIELD—Walking into the Farmers’ Market at Forest Park on any given Tuesday this summer it’s hard not to notice a bright yellow tent protecting the delightful popping sounds and hard-to-miss smells of freshly made salty-sweet popcorn.
Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn of Springfield, owned by Steve Cary, has been a fixture at the farmers’ market (including its previous location at the X in Springfield) for the past eight years. Steve along with his three children have been serving up hot, fresh kettle corn—and having a blast along the way. His wife, Kelly, a mental health nurse, pitches in when needed.
Steve’s banter with customers is as much a part of the experience as popping the corn. He will often have fun with children who come to the booth to order by first asking, “Did you eat your vegetables, clean your room, listen to your mother and during the school year do your homework?” He also likes to tell customers unfamiliar with kettle corn that it’s “free-range, organic, low-fat, boneless, dolphin-safe, fair-trade, gourmet, microbrew- and chardonnay-compatible kettle corn.” Photos by Jennifer Garutti.
So I had disappeared for the past few weeks from Springfield popping. My other job is to do video editing for a huge company in Boston. They had sent me to Maui to edit their corporate awards presentation at the Ritz Carlton. I basically sat in a room editing video on a laptop for a week. At least I managed to fly there early and spend 4 days roaming around the island with my buddy Johnny, who you’ve seen featured in some of these videos for my Framingham location.
Apparently in my absence, the weather has been consistently crappy at the Springfield farmers market. Steve was trying to maintain our presence, but it really hard to get a crowd to form when it’s sprinkling through out the day. It also screws up the kettle corn popping process with so much moisture in the air. Today was the first “good” day we’ve had – the temperature reached in the 90’s but it wasn’t a killer day to work in. We’ve popped in temperatures near 100 degrees and it really takes a toll on you. The heat from the kettle can really raise your core body temperature until you feel like passing out. Fortunately there are showers in the hockey rink located next to us, so a good hose down in the middle of the day really hits the spot.
Well, we’ve been going to the Springfield Farmers market for 7 years. Our first day popping anywhere was in Springfield on June 14, 2006. If you read that blog entry, you’ll notice we were worried that we would be able to sell anything! For the longest time we were next to a church on a very busy street. It was a great spot that had a ton of traffic, since then we’ve moved inside a forested park next to a hockey rink. The crowds haven’t been the same and on a rainy day like today, we really take a hit. It’s nice that we had some regulars show up and were excited that we were popping again.
Springfield is pretty far from my new Buzzards Bay house. It’s a 2 and a half hour drive so I’m not sure how long I can show up on a weekly basis. The good news is Steve is getting the money together for his own kettle. He’ll be running “Velma’s West” and I’ll be doing “Velma’s South”. He lives just two streets away from the market and he certainly doesn’t want to lose the income. I’ve got a video editing job for a big insurance company coming up in the middle of May. They’ll be sending me to Maui for 2 weeks on their nickel, so I won’t be able to move to the new digs until the beginning of June. I may post some weird videos from Maui on this blog just for the heck of it.