‘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’.