Coconut Curry Comet Corn, $4.99, Community Market (1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, srcommunitymarket.com)
I remember standing, mouth agape, at the Sonoma County Fair a few years ago when Comet Corn’s Sherry Soleski told me they used actual butter on their freshly-popped popcorn. Not just butter, but Straus Creamery butter. Oh, and the butterfly corn they use is organic, and the seasonings made from things like organic coconut milk powder and brewer’s yeast. Plus, it came with a giant bear hug from the indomitable Soleski, herself. I’ve been sold ever since.
Of all their flavors (Bloody Mary, Maple Syrup, the super-popular Hippie Dust, etc.) have their fans, but my favorite by far is Coconut Curry. There’s a bit of curry spice bite, but with a hint of sweetness and a satisfying touch of fat (they use organic oil in the bagged flavors, since butter isn’t as shelf-stable). It’s addictive to say the least.
The mom and pop start up based in Santa Rosa was inspired by an evening around a campfire when Soleski’s partner, Jeff Phillips, served a bowl of seasoned popcorn to some friends while watching the Hale-Bopp Comet whiz by in the night sky. After a stellar Kickstarter that raised more than $20,000, they’re a solar-powered powerhouse at local events like the county fair, National Heirloom Expo, Kate Wolf Festival and the upcoming Earlefest (Sept. 26, 2015 earlefest.com).