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Kettle corn helps market pop

Steve Baidenmanns twists on a traditional treat keep customers coming back


A kettle corn booth brings that extra “pop” to the weekly Forest Grove Farmers Market, a program of the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres.

Every Wednesday, Steve Baidenmann, owner of Steve’s Boot Scootin’ Kettle Corn, hauls a popping trailer to the market with a large kettle inside to pop fresh batches of kettle corn while customers decide which sweet or savory flavor fits their fancy — from traditional kettle corn with its addictive combination of sugar and salt to tasty white cheddar or sour cream and onion flavors.

In the 1700s Native Americans introduced popping corn varieties to European settlers, and over the years it has continued to be a popular snack. According to Baidenmann’s website, cowboys would make kettle corn by heating rendered fat in a cast iron pot over the fire. When the fat was hot, they tossed in some corn kernels and whatever sweetener was available, usually honey or molasses. Today, Baidenmann continues the tradition — just adding his own spin to the flavor combinations.by: COURTESY PHOTO - Scott Baidenmann of Boot Scootin Kettle Corn hoists a few bags of his tasty treats.

Shortly after graduating from high school, Baidenmann took over the kettle corn business from a friend’s father. “Culinary school had been a dream of mine for many years, and I was excited about the prospects of working in a job that produced joy in the form of food as its end product,” he said. “However, I realized that the high pace, high stress atmosphere wasn’t a match for me.

“Having cerebral palsy since birth has added a degree of challenge for me to pursue the career path I was excited about, but I knew with hard work I would figure it out,” he explained.

With help from his family and a few employees, Baidenmann sells at several area farmers markets and events. “I love the Forest Grove market because of the great feeling of community and friendly people,” he said. “For me the best memory was about two years ago, when I helped a customer who had had his first date at one of my markets propose to his girlfriend.”

Market-goers can find their favorite kettle corn varieties every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. through Oct. 30 at the Forest Grove Farmers Market on Main Street, or visit steveskettlecorn.com to order online.




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