Nestled between the Catskills and the Shawangunk Ridge in Kerhonkson lies BjornQorn, a small operation that churns out vegan, non-GMO, allergen-free, and absolutely delicious popped kernels. The story starts in the early 2000s when founders Bjorn Quenemoen, son of a Minnesota corn farmer, and Jamie O’Shea, an artist and inventor, met as students at Bard College. With Quenemoen’s seemingly endless supply of corn kernels from his family’s farm, he and O’Shea began to host regular gatherings where he would make his “BjornQorn,” popcorn flavored with cheesy-tasting (but vegan) nutritional yeast. A decade later in 2011, the pair decided to try producing Quenemoen’s recipe on a larger scale, and have since developed new varieties like spicy, maple, cloudy (salty), and earth (truffle).
Business has been booming—and BjornQorn needed more space. Just down the road from their current factory at Kelder’s Farm is the defunct (and once beloved) Skate Time 209 in Accord, which shuttered during the pandemic. Quenemoen and his partners decided it was the perfect space to house their operations, so they purchased the property last November and plan to re-open it to the public while reserving half the building for business operations. “BjornQorn is in a real growth phase…and our community needs its rink back! We feel like we’re in a unique position to make that happen, and something about a popcorn factory and roller rink felt too good to pass up,” says co-owner Stephanie Bauman.
Their popcorn creation relies on solar power from machinery O’Shea designed—and with an increased amount of roof space, Bauman estimates the brand will triple in size. The move won’t be complete until late this year (at the earliest), but when it happens, BjornQorn will have more equipment, staff, national visibility, and of course, more delicious popcorn.
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