For the uninitiated, kettle popcorn (kettle korn, kettle corn) was first introduced in the early 1700s. After rendering their lard, settlers would use it to pop popcorn in large cast-iron kettles, adding to the corn whatever confections they had on hand, such as molasses, honey, or sugar cane, to sweeten their treat.
Today it's cooked in cast-iron or stainless steel kettles using propane as a heat source and soybean, canola oil or another oil instead of lard. Usually every popper has his or her favorite sweetening agent to add to the pot. The end result is a slightly sweet, slightly salty popcorn that has universal appeal. If the aroma of the cooking popcorn doesn't get them, the taste always does!
If you have seen kettle corn being popped at a local fair or market, then you know that it is the hottest concession around. The overhead is extremely low, and most vendors have been able to recoup their original equipment investment in just a few shows.
Not many other business opportunities can make this claim, but it is true. If you are unsure, find a farmers market or craft fair and spend half an hour watching the kettle corn people. You will notice that the vendors are smiling, the customers are smiling, and there is a lot of money being made.
We have pictures of one of our vendors making Kettle Corn at the Jefferson Count Fair on our Teachers and Student pages if you'd like to see more.