"Siblings or married?" is a question Jeff and Jennifer Martin of Pipcorn hear frequently at markets or, ahem, during interviews when the person they're talking to realizes they share a surname.
"I think it's because we have so much fun together," Jeff says. "People just can't believe you can have so much fun with your sibling. We laugh all day long."
The siblings Martin were on a six-day cross-country trip when they decided to start the company. Jennifer had some dietary restrictions and was always on the lookout for healthy snacks that were gentle on her stomach; one of her favorites was popcorn made from hull-less kernels. She had her brother try it, and he called it "the greatest popcorn I'd ever had."
He explains that when it's popped, "the shells break up into tiny pieces that are easier to digest and don't get stuck in your teeth like regular popcorn," adding, "It tastes like popcorn and looks like popcorn, but it's a totally new experience."
They buy the corn directly from a farm that grows the unusual variety, and have four flavors at the moment: sea salt, rosemary, kettle corn, and "crabby," which is flavored with Old Bay seasoning, though Jeff promises some new, top-secret flavors for the holidays. All of the flavors are vegan, gluten-free, and popped in extra-virgin olive oil, and Jeff explains that the "salt acts as a natural preservative."
While the original plan concocted on that long drive was for "the next snack food empire," Jeff explains that they've been kept busy enough with producing and selling Pipcorn that they haven't had time to develop other products. You can find them at Smorgasburg, online, or at Gourmet Guild in Williamsburg.