Can you remember the county fairs of your childhood?
The crisp fall air, the golden leaves falling, the sound of carousel music, children laughing, the bells of carnival games, hawkers barking, the smell of fresh sawdust, barn animals, and hot buttered popcorn?
Yeah, I can remember it, too.
Hi, I’m Patience Felt and my friends and family call me Paysh, or Payshee.
I’m a native Minnesotan and have lived my entire life in the Twin Cities metro area. I live in St. Paul’s West Side, (also known as the Best Side, which it is) and…
I LOVE POPCORN!
I’ve always loved popcorn and so does my family. In fact, I have numerous vivid and happy childhood memories involving popcorn.
When I was just a little girl…
I remember my Aunt Sandy would make popcorn and dump it into in a large roasting pan. Then me and my cousin Julie would get to stay up late and watch the Tonight Show (the Johnny Carson version) with her on the sofa.
Hey, this was a big time privilege for an 8 year old!
On occasional Sunday nights, my Mom would say, “I’m not making supper tonight because I made a big lunch so we’re having popcorn instead.” Large bowls of popcorn would then appear and we would head to the family room to watch Wonderful World of Disney on TV.
But my most treasured popcorn memory has to be when the Felt family packed into our giant blue station wagon to see The Empire Strikes Back for the first time at the old Brookdale movie theatre.
For a summer’s day, it was cold, drizzly and gray. But when we walked into the theater, the warmth of the lobby and the amazingly inviting sounds and smells of popping corn intensified the already heady experience of going to see a Star Wars movie!
Dad—a popcorn fanatic himself—purchased a ginormous tub of corn for the fam and we took our buttery treasure into the darkness to watch the destruction of the Rebel Alliance, a cybernetically preserved Han Solo and the shocking truth behind Luke Skywalker’s paternity.
It was a big deal and I still remember that day like it was yesterday.
I have a million such memories and I’m sure you do, too.
I’ve always associated popcorn with positive thoughts and memories because it festive and fun, it’s easy to make (unless you’re my partner, Steve, who burns even the microwave stuff…) and, most of all, it's like a magic wand to put people in a good mood!
My First Popcorn Lady Experience
Years ago, when my son was in elementary school, I would volunteer at the school carnivals and I always requested popcorn machine duty.
Because everyone at the carnival was overjoyed to stand in line and hand me their popcorn ticket to get their little bag of salty goodness!
Selling popcorn is, frankly, an awesome job because everyone’s always happy to get popcorn. It’s basically the opposite of having to tell someone they aren’t approved for a mortgage or that they have termites and their house has to be fumigated for a month.
Popcorn isn’t ever a downer and this is one of it’s greatest allures.
As YOUR Popcorn Lady, my mission is simply to make the best popcorn you’ve ever had and transport you back to YOUR childhood!
How’s that for a daunting quest?
Feed the need
Microwave popcorn, for the most part, isn’t good for you at all and the taste is just so-so, at best. Despite the fact that it can make the house smell like a movie theater in no time flat, it’s sort of a chemical nightmare because much of commercially grown popcorn is heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides to keep away the crawlies and the kudzu.
Because of the heavy pesticide content of most commercial popcorns, I’ve decided that I’m going organic! My popcorn will be organic, as non-gmo as any modern corn plant can be, fresh, fluffy, crispy, and, most importantly, completely delicious!
Kernels of truth
If you’ve ever made organic popcorn, you know that some of it doesn’t pop up very well or has a chewy texture.
Fear not! All organic corn is not made equally.
I’ve had some amazing organic corn recently which is not only philosophically and environmentally awesome but pops up light, fluffy and delicious every time - in fact, it beats the traditional store bought commercial corn hands down for taste and popability ( I just made up that word…)
Steve and I continue to search for the best organic, locally raised corn we can find. In fact we’re talking with a local supplier from the northern part of the Twin Cities, right now, and we’ll let you know once we’ve decided on a steady-eddy supplier.
The Spice of Life
The total popcorn experience isn’t just the grain, however; it’s also the toppings, the "Toss” and the way the corn is popped.
My corn tastes home-made because it’s made with the best organic coconut oil, organic butters, and high quality salts and seasonings. I don’t believe in cutting corners on my popcorn and I’m hoping you’ll appreciate my commitment to quality.
Seriously, the aroma of the corn popping in the coconut oil is a delight - it smells completely awesome!
When you come to visit my completely adorable popcorn cart, you’ll have the ability to choose from a handful of seasoning flavors.
I’ll definitely have the classic toppings available, such as warm butter and salt, but I have many other yummy seasonings available.
Take for instance my West Side Taco flavor. A combination of powdered organic white cheddar cheese and taco spices, together with an habanero salt blend. (SHAMELESS PLUG:The salt comes from our friends, Leslie and Tony Stoy of Isabel Street Heat, and offers a complex pepper heat and flavor.)
I also have a sweet seasoning called Cha-Cha-Cha-Churro, a cinnamon and spice powdered sugar mix kicked up a notch with some very schmancy Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder. It’s totally addicting.
And I’m working on a new flavor I like to call Herby Flurby - it makes me laugh to say it, lol! I know, it sounds weird, but I think you’ll love it.
It’s a vegan-(and non-vegan) friendly blend of herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (just to name a few…) along with nutritional yeast and a drizzle of warm olive oil.
You could call it the Scarborough Fair flavor if you wanted to be witty and cheeky. That’s what Steve’s calling it, and he’s very witty and cheeky… .
Of course, we plan to develop many more fabulous seasonings as we move forward.
In fact, if you want to help us develop a seasoning blend, just choose the $500 level, above and you can help create your own special flavor! How awesome would THAT BE!
I mentioned this earlier and you’re probably wondering what the hey I’m talking about. The Toss is the seasoning coating process.
All the popcorn will be popped in coconut oil, then MIXED TO ORDER, just for you.
I won’t just dump it in a bag, then sprinkle it with a little fake butter and fake cheese flavor that sits on the top of the bag and doesn’t coat all the kernels. I’m gonnal toss it to order so you get flavor in every bite!
The Toss separates Payshee’s Popcorn from the rest of the popcorn carts in the universe and makes it special, a one of a kind.
Packaging is important to me. I don’t want to create fabulous organic popcorn and then serve it to you in a non-compostable container or overly bleached bag that will just pollute our land and water.
I want them to be biodegradable and compostable as well as super cute. We’ve found some awesome bags by the EcoCraft company that I think you’re gonna love feel good about. We do!
Please, sir… may I have some more?
We will offer three bag sizes, each affectionately named for our pets, Punkin, Squishy and Bubble:
- Small or The Punkinator: The smallest bag offered is affectionately named after the cutest kitty in the universe, our Punkin’, who’s very tiny in size but mighty in attitude and second in command in the house (Don’t tell her that, or there’ll be a fight).
- Medium or The Squishy Kitty: The medium size bag is named after Punkin’s larger twin sister, Squish, the First in Command. She likes to squeeze into the middle when we're watching a show or in bed. Actually, to be honest, she just takes over the sofa, the bed, the table, or your favorite chair. (I mean, excuse me, HER favorite chair.)
- Large or The Bubble Tub Bag: Our biggest bag is named after the friendliest, sweetest, laziest dog who ever graced the floor under a dinner table, our Bubble.
Everyone’s a winner!
Or at least, everyone in my neighborhood, and eventually my entire city, and who knows where beyond that! I want to bring popcorn to as many people as I can.
A Master Plan
My friend Jessy (always an advocate and a constantly supportive friend - thanks, Jessy!) said I should run a crowdfunding campaign to get my popcorn cart idea off the ground.
I tossed around the idea in my head for a bit and then talked it over with Steve. I know next to nothing about crowd funding and so I needed help!
I asked Steve is we could run a crowdfunding campaign to get the popcorn cart idea off the ground and, because he is the very best ever, he responded with a “Yes ma’am!” and we began to brainstorm on what kind of cart we should create!
Thomas Edison created over 10,000 light bulbs before lighting up the world…
At first, we were thinking that it would be a small trailer unit that we could pull behind our car. So, we sat down with my sister, April—who is a design genius, creative consultant and very talented carpenter—and sketched out a design. But then we discovered that our little hybrid car can’t tow anything -
Total Bummer! Back to the drawing board.
Then Steve asked a crazy question one evening, “What about putting it on the back of a golf cart? or a Scooter?”
I laughed, at first, but then after googling “golf cart food truck” and finding hundreds of tricked out examples, some of which were even ‘old timey’ looking, I was convinced that maybe we had found our solution.
And then I found out that St. Paul doesn’t offer permits to drive golf carts on city streets.
Bummer, again. And another drawing board.
So then we started looking at scooters, because they ARE licensed for our streets.
And that’s where we are, now.
We’re looking at a 3 wheeled, electric scooter utility vehicle, or truck, like the one pictured here. The electric part is kind of important to me, because I want to keep the carbon footprint of the business as low as possible.
We'll probably take the bed off the back and then build it up to look a lot like the Old Timey cart above! Seriously! It's gonna be so cute you won't be able to stand it!
Steve even has plans to power it with solar panels! The design is still very much in the early stages and a lot of it depends upon the success of this campaign.
I get by with a little help from my friends (and family)…
While my name is on the cart, I couldn’t do any this without my team of dedicated popcorn-eaters, and advisors. This is a group effort, for certain.
The core team, in addition to me, is as follows:
- My dad, Greg Felt: He’s a huge popcorn fanatic, a military & civil engineer and a talented contractor. He’s gonna help turn my little scooter into a functioning Old Timey popcorn cart!
- My sister, April: She’s a talented carpenter and designer, who is also a big popcorn fan. She’s gonna help my dad with the aesthetics and construction.
- My son, Duke: A quality control expert, Duke has volunteered to be our official Taste-Tester. Also, he will probably come along and help serve it to you, if you’re lucky, because he needs to make money for college. And he’ll totally be helping with design and build out.
- My partner, Steve Bivans: He’s the one writing all this sales copy, setting up my Facebook page—since I never spend time there (but I’m learning…) - websites, this crowdfunding campaign, filming and editing the videos you see and, in general, making sure I get the project put together.
The Executive Committee
Punkin’ She cares not one bit for popcorn, of course, unless mommy ever develops a Shrimp-Head Surprise flavor. (FYI: I’m not planning on it.) Punkin’ is the power for Order in the house, when she’s not clawing at Bubble’s, tail, or chasing squirrels through the kitchen.
Bubble is our faithful, chow/lab mix, and the clean-up crew. She’s the sweetest dog ever. When she’s not sleeping—which is about 23 hours a day—she loves to eat popcorn, hotdogs, and pretty much anything that hits the floor.
- Squishy Kitty is our CEO and Empress of the Universe. (She is the Dark Side). She claims that Payshee’s Popcorn was her idea (She wrote that sentence.) One day this summer, while we were eating breakfast, she looked at me and said in her most queenly tone, “Get me more bloody tuna and crunchy treats! You need to start a business so you can support my needs!” And then she turned away and stared out the window at the chickens (We call them birds).
How can you help?
My team and I are ready to build this cart and get it on the road to bring you the best popcorn ever! But great ideas need help to get them off the ground, or rolling down the road.
That’s where YOU come in because we need a bit of money to put it all together and make it come to life. There’s a lot that goes into building the perfect popcorn cart - more than we ever originally thought!
We need to:
- Purchase an electric scooter
- Trick that scooter out as an Old Timey popcorn cart.
- Equip it with a professional grade popcorn popper unit and other gear, like butter warmers, shakers, and other food vendor stuff.
- Get licensed from the state and city.
- Make sure we’re fully insured.
- Run advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the new business.
- Buy bulk popcorn, oil, butter, seasoning ingredients, bags and containers, etc… .
- Equip solar panels, if at all possible
- Do a bunch of stuff that we have no idea we have to do, but which we’ll discover once we get going. Dark Side stuff, mostly.
It is sooooooo easy to lend support and donate to my campaign!
Scroll up, and choose a level of support on the right side of this page. (There’s a lot of yummy rewards over there!)
Even one dollar helps but you can get more pop for your buck if you can spare a little more, or a lot more…
UNTIL NOVEMBER 26TH!
Everyone who contributes $50 or more, will get a bag of Payshee's special Christmas Caramel Crack Corn in time for the Holidays! We'll ship it to your door! Wanna watch her make it? Check out the video HERE!
Please SHARE this campaign with your friends and family, on your social media pages, through email, phone, or telegraph.
Or just yell it out the window of your car as you drive through town because I know how passionate you are about fresh, organically popped popcorn and how badly you now want to go home and watch The Empire Strikes Back…
Thank YOU for helping to make Payshee’s Popcorn a reality!