Introducing Iona

This June we are welcoming a brand new team member! Here at Portlebay our marketing team is doubling up with new girl Iona- A.K.A mini Millie.

-Iona is passionate about the classic and simple things in life-  pretty flowers, summer evenings and of course Lightly Sea Salted popcorn.

-As well as this Iona is a lover of sport; regularly playing Lacrosse, enjoying the gym and best of all going for runs with her dog Alfie! She can often be spotted in her natural habitat which is any of the South-West’s beautiful beaches, which is just one of the reasons she loves Devon so much.

-This beach admiration is down to her love of adventure, but watch out! Iona is known to get carried away with her exploring and has been stuck up trees, stranded on rocks and even lost in a Cambodian jungle!

Her adventurous personality was passed down to her from her parents who named her after an island in Scotland due to their love of traveling and Scottish heritage. One day Iona would love to travel the world, but right now, shes most excited for her new venture right here at Portlebay.

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Behind The Scenes: 5,000 Followers Photograph

We are over the moon that we have reached 5,000 followers on Instagram! We would like to say a hugeeee thank you to all of our wonderful popcorn fans from far and wide and high and low! Of course we wanted to mark the occasion on our Instagram page and so we decided that a group photo with our trusty mascot, Bob, (on our logo) was in order!

As with anything, when the Portlebay Team gets together it is always a raucous affair, with a great amount of laughter and hilarity, and this photo-taking occasion was no exception. For those of you that have ever tried to organise a group photo, we are sure you can understand the difficulty of trying to get everyone positioned, looking and smiling in the right direction, along with the ever unpredictable weather conditions that add a whole new level of challenging to the situation (for us it was a rather blustery day)! With everyone happy to pause their popcorn-related tasks for a short period and jump outside into the sunshine, there was extra excitement and so this simple task became, well…. tricky (but of course it was still wonderfully entertaining for all!)

With this entertaining afternoon turning into a hopeless photoshoot, we managed to capture a range of unsuccessful but amusing snaps, that we thought we would share with you! Have a peak below at a small selection of our not so triumphant snaps…

 

You may have guessed that we attempted the classic jumping team snap, however after a long while of trying, we gave up and settled for smiles and happy arms! It was for the best.

 

If Popcorn was a Unit of Measurement!

After a rather entertaining discussion at The Poppery, that led to the comparison of  how tall each of us popcorn-enthusiasts are, we decided that all the many units that we could use to express how tall we are just weren’t fun enough. You know the typical units we see alllll the time; ft, in, cm, mm. We need something with a little more… pizazz! And so, we did what we do best, we introduced popcorn and measured the world in the new unit of

ppp (pieces of popped popcorn)!

After averaging a large range of pieces of popcorn we discovered how to measure anything and everything in popcorn!

The Things we Measured in Popcorn (ppp)…

The Portlebay Team!

We took a small, medium and tall member of staff and measured them in popcorn!

The Small One: Millie from marketing is our littlest team member measuring a mere 63ppp.

The Medium Ones: Diane our mother hen and Faye the lady with the money are the same height, measuring a very modest 67ppp.

The Tall One: Neil one of our mighty co-founders is the tallest in the pack, measuring in at the great height of 74ppp.

Items we Found at The Poppery

Our almighty kettle (an essential piece of equipment in The Poppery): just 10ppp

Our front door: 81ppp

A small teddy bear: only 9ppp

Steve from the warehouse’s forklift: this lift and shifting machine totalled in at 72ppp

The Poppery itself: the perimeter of our popcorn hq is 4,800ppp

and one last measure…

If we lined up enough popcorn to go around the world we would need:

1603,000,000ppp! 

Another fun post to read after this is ‘Meet our Mascot Bob!’

Sean? Who’s Sean?

Introducing, the one, the only SEEEEEEAN! Sean, is the new kid on the block, he’s a fresh face amongst The Portlebay gang and he’s our cheerful new Sales Magician (although he hasn’t yet pulled a rabbit out of his hat, but we’re still hopeful that he will!) In true Portlebay style we gathered at The Poppery and took to quizzing Sean all about what he gets up to when he’s not working his magic. Have a read and see what we dug up:

-Not only a man that can talk the talk, Sean is also an avid baker! As well as being known to make the odd wedding cake, Sean specialises in making doughnuts and has even made a Bacon and Maple Syrup Doughnut!- We have to admit we didn’t just chose him for his sales magic…

-Sean spent three years traveling all over the world and managed to fill three passports full of stamps! He can even say he has been to every continent and we are insanely jealous!

-His favourite popcorn is Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup! If it has bacon, Sean is there!

-Sean can frequently be found roaming around Dartmoor with his trusty partner Nova (his dog pal). The pair are keen explorers and foragers!

-He is a man with a serious passion for coffee. We are talking eight cups a day, 2 before he even leaves for work.

-We will definitely have to keep an eye on this new popcorn-enthusiast, as he has broken between 25-30 bones! That’s nearly a bone a year!

-Sean is a giiigantic Foo Fighters fan and has seen them in concert 14 times! Including in; Toronto, Ireland, Australia, Wales, Portugal and New York!

-When Sean was baby Sean, he was known for being a big biter and to protect on-lookers from having their fingers bitten, his Dad created a ‘Beware This Baby Bites’ sign which was hung either on his pram or around his neck! (Hopefully the biting days are over now!)

If you haven’t yet met Roddy and Mark, make sure you read our posts all about them too!

Meet The Marvellous Mark!

Another sunny day in beautiful Devon and another welcome to a chirpy new Portlebay team member. Today, we are introducing Mark, he has undergone the vital rite of passage of posing with with Bob the seagull and is now an official Portlebay Popcorn warrior. WOO HOO! GO MARK! It wouldn’t be an official Portlebay greeting if we didn’t investigate into what Mark loves and what he’ll be doing when he’s not frolicking in a sea of popcorn, so here’s some fun facts about him…

-Mark is our shiny new National Account Honcho and Chief Phone Chatter

-His favourite Portlebay Popcorn is Chilli & Lime- he loves his chilli and loves his lime, it’s a match made in heaven!

-Mark can also been known as ‘Motorcycle Mark’, as he has a great passion for the speedy two wheel machines and travels around the country following The British Super Bike Events (of course on his own motorbike!) Mark’s love for motorbikes began with motocross racing, when he was only 14, and has been flourishing ever since! At one time Mark had a collection of four motorbikes; a traditional bike, an adventure bike, a touring bike and a sport bike! Fancy a spin? Marks ya man!

-He has a gorgeous German Shepard, called Ellie-May, who is just over a year old and will melt your heart!

-Mark has lived in 17 houses!

-Along with motorcycles, Mark also collects beautiful fountain pens. His interest in pens started after a customer gifted Mark a fountain pen as a thank you and ever since he has loved them! Mark’s collection now exceeds 30 of these glorious creations!

-At 12 years old Mark’s music teacher told him not to sing as he sounded like ‘an old growler’ and has never sang since, not even in the shower!

Here’s a snap of Ellie-May- look how adorable she is!

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If you haven’t yet met Roddy, make sure you read this post too!

A Typical Day at Portlebay

Our little team tends to be busy, busy, busy when we are at The Poppery. Although we all have our own roles and tasks, our mutual overall goal is to pop the popcorn and get our little bags of sunshine out and about in the world! We’ve taken a few snaps of a typical Portlebay day, so you can all see what we get up to!

9:00- Roll up to The Poppery

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By the time the clock strikes nine, our team have rolled out of bed, had a scrub and some grub and have rocked up to The Poppery. Each day we are greeted by Bob (our mascot on our logo) as we reach our second home, who can look rather glorious in the morning sunshine- as you can see in the snap!

 

10:00- In The Poppery

 

By the time ten o’clock comes round, our lovely team in The Poppery have been popping, seasoning and packing popcorn for two hours and are deep in the popcorn making zone! The popcorn making team tends to consist of seven lovely ladies and gents, that are seriously good at popping popcorn to perfection!

 

11:00- Office Tea Timeee!

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We are a typical office when it comes to tea and coffee. We all love the stuff, but no one wants to be the one to make it. As, anyone that works in an office environment will know,  the person that makes the drinks always gets burdened with a biggggg order, enough to cater for an army (or so it feels). In the mornings we each sneakily make our own cuppa and manage to avoid getting hit with the list of complicated requests, that seems to go on for a life time, but by eleven o’clock our tea and coffee cravings start to kick in and the game of waiting for the first person to crack begins. As you can imagine the person that folds and heads to kitchen to make a drink is bombarded with the orders. No place for the weak.

 

12:00- In The Office, Doing Office Things

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By noon we have all got stuck in to many of our popcorn related tasks- Faye from finance playing with her numbers, Diane our office mother sorting all of our so-called problems out, Steve in the warehouse playing around on his forklift, etc. On this particular occasion, twelve o’clock in the office consisted of prepping the Royal Mail post for our wonderful consumers that ordered directly from us (yes, you can order popcorn straight from The Poppery!) This involves bagging and labelling the boxes of popcorn, ready to be picked up by the post lady/man. Shortly after this lunch commences, YES!

 

13:00- Still Popping in The Poppery

 

At one o’clock, it’s still go, go, go in The Poppery. The people love popcorn and we want to make sure the people get what they love! Roddy our Grand Popping Maestro is in charge of  poperations, making sure that the flavours are just right and that each kernel is popped at the correct temperature, he also loves a photoshoot if given the opportunity (see image above).

 

14:00- What’s Going on in the Warehouse?

 

Steve our wonderful warehouse manager will have spent many marvellous hours whizzing around on his fork lift by two o’clock; loading and unloading lorries, shifting pallets of popcorn to organise the ware house and transporting the freshly popped popcorn from The Poppery to the warehouse. He also is in charge of sorting all orders and making sure that they are ready to be sent out to the big wide world!

 

15:00- Feeling Peckish? You’re in the Right Place!

 

With the wonderful aroma of our freshly popped popcorn floating around in the air (you can smell it at the end of our road!), it’s quite common for us busy bees to feel a little peckish by three o’clock. Fortunately, we are in the right place to seek out a snack! We like to make sure our popcorn is super tasty and so at three o’clock we often partake in a taste test (not an official taste test but we deem it essential).

 

16:00- Keep the Popcorn Coming!

 

The operation of popping popcorn can be a long and busy process, as we endeavour to pop the equivalent of 66,667 ping balls worth of popcorn every hour! Some days our popcorn team can be popping from 7:30am-4:00pm, that’s the equivalent of 566,670 ping pong balls! Oh la la, that’s a lot!

 

17:00- Bye Bob, See you Tomorrow

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At five o’clock we wave goodbye to our mascot Bob the seagull and leave him in peace for the evening.

Where Does Your Corn Come From?

‘Where does your corn come from?’ We hear you wonder… Nataïs!

Nataïs, are our corn suppliers. They farm the wonderful corn that is then popped and seasoned into our Portlebay Popcorn. Based in Southern France, Nataïs specialise in growing popping corn from the butterfly family (like ours) and the mushroom family! The company cherish the land in which the crops grow from and are firm believers of sustainable farming, YAY!

But why all the way from France?

In order to grow popping corn a climate of plentiful sunshine is required. As this isn’t something that is common in the UK, growing corn in the South of France is a much better idea! The terrain in the South of France is also an ideal match for growing corn and along with the sunshine ensures that there is a constant supply of popping corn being produced.

The Farmers’ Partnership

As Nataïs believe that sustainable farming  is essential, the company focus on using local resources and expertise. A major part of utilising local resources is the partnership that Nataïs have with their farmers. Today there are a total of 200 farmers partnered with the company, all of which are very highly valued.

The company has established a tailored procedure to ensure all the Nataïs farmers consistently grow and carry out the same practices. This procedure includes meeting with all farmers on a regular basis and matching their soil and climate conditions. They also frequently exchange ideas regarding improvement techniques, seed selection and best growing practices – especially regarding innovation and sustainability.

The Story of Nataïs…

Founder and president of Nataïs, Michael Ehmann grew up on a farm in Germany with his family, which inspired him to become a farmer and discover new practices with the land. At the age of 24 Michael took a trip to America where he met a popcorn farmer. This encounter sparked the idea that he could grow popcorn at his family farm in France. With this new and exciting idea he purchased 2kg of seeds, popped them in his suitcase and whisked them home to France.

Over the first few years Michael experimented a lot and spent time testing out all kinds of techniques, until he finally produced the desired outcome, which was specifically created for the soil and climate in the South of France. After eventually perfecting farming the corn, he was then faced with a whole new challenge, getting his product into the market. Those that he approached with his corn were suspicious of a French man growing popping corn. Facing this difficult situation Michael took to visiting a wide range of plants and customers to gain a further understanding into the industry.

After gaining this new insight into the farming of popping corn, Michael then met Jérôme Réthoré (now General Manager of Nataïs).  Jérôme shared his expert knowledge of the popping corn industrial process and together they took the business further.

We love the passion and values that drive Nataïs and truly think they are a super cool company! Three cheers for our wonderful popping corn supplier! HIP-HIP HOORAY, HIP-HIP HOORAY, HIP-HIP HOORAAAAY!

Another post about our ingredients you may enjoy is our ‘Oh No, No Palm Oil Here’.