The smell of butter and salt wafts through the air in a small warehouse complex on Appaloosa Road.
A giant popcorn machine spits out the tasty snack for Johanna Faccini, owner of Queen B Kettle Korn.
Faccini said the business will soon be offering snack-sized portions of popcorn and she’s been experimenting with a different type of caramel corn.
As the company’s second queen bee, the original business started in 2002 at the farmer’s market by a woman named Bobby, Faccini said. The company’s most popular and original popcorn, Sweet and Salty, is just one of the many flavours it offers in stores like Save-On-Foods and fruit stands across the Okanagan Valley.
“We’re trying to now go to Vancouver and starting to go into Alberta. We’re trying to expand the kingdom,” Faccini laughed.
For the snack sized bags, she also plans to distribute them in vending machines and at local wineries.
Faccini, along with two other workers one from Syria and the other from Honduras, form a team of queens that create between 7,000 to 10,000 units of popcorn a month, dependant on the season. Typically popular with tourists in the summer months, the demand for popcorn peaks in the warmer season, and in December as people cuddle up with a bowl of caramel popcorn, she said.
Originally from Columbia and a former chemical engineer who worked in the palm oil sector, once Faccini immigrated to Canada she wanted to be involved in the food industry.
“I was looking for a full manufacturing business, because I have experience in different manufacturing, so I found that she was selling the business and I thought it was a great product,” Faccini said. Two years ago, she took over the popcorn company.
“It’s a great snack. It’s something that brings people together, creates good memories and it’s interesting product. It’s almost magical how a small seed goes through all these process of growing and hoping,” she said.
The company creates its own caramel from scratch and uses real cheese for its Cheezy Corn. It’s all gluten free.
The packaging preserves the popcorn for up to six months. She uses two different types of popcorn, a fluffier shaped one, and another that looks similar to a mushroom. Each has a slightly different flavour, she said, the mushroom popcorn has a milder flavour.
For more information on Queen Bee’s products, visit https://queen-b.ca/products/.