Town Crier: Oakland shop serves up gourmet popcorn, Chicago style


MONTCLARION: November 22, 2013

You’ve heard of farm-to-fork? Well, this is about seed-to-snack. It’s the story of popcorn, and how one Oakland shop owner is turning a childhood treat into a gourmet delight. Scarecrow, 3435 Lakeshore Ave., is the brainchild of Tish Moore, who grew up with some of the best popcorn on the planet — in Chicago. “Not unlike our famous pizza, our popcorn is unique,” she says, adding it’s so good, “people threaten their friends and family to return with popcorn or not come home!”

Tish says it took her a year-and-a-half to research popcorn recipes and flavors before opening her own store in Oakland, where she’s lived for eight years. She thought long and hard about the feasibility of a popcorn shop, interviewing friends and observing the foot-traffic patterns in different shopping districts.

“I tasted from the best shops and finally settled on what we believe is the perfect popcorn,” she says. The shop offers five varieties, including caramel and cheese, periodically rotating in additional flavors.

And where did Tish get the cute name for the shop? From the decoy that discourages birds from landing in the cornfields, of course. “Our Scarecrow popcorn is here to scare away other uninteresting snacks,” she says, with the humor of a woman who is clearly tickled with her new endeavor. For more information, go the Scarecrow website at http://scarecrowpopcorn.com/.

Pedal power: Some of the best ideas were born in garages. That’s how Garagespin got started — in Deb Collard’s Crocker Highlands garage. Three years ago, she put in some stationary bikes and started teaching spin classes. Her little cycling studio got so big that on Monday she and fellow fitness instructor Helen Saunders will open Oakland’s first dedicated indoor cycling studio, Ride Oakland, at 4448 Piedmont Ave. Learn more about their 20 classes a week at www.rideoaklandcycling.com.

Email bag: “Who doesn’t like a warm hug?” That’s what one reader wrote last week in response to my column on Laurie Statton’s living wreaths and the warm message they convey to visitors. Since so many people have asked how to get in touch with the Oakland hills artist, she’s posted photos and information about her living wreaths on the web at www.livingwreaths.blogspot.com/.

Girl power: Oakmore Highlands mom Laurie Peterson has raised enough money on the funding website Kickstarter to launch her a new line of building toys for girls. Peterson is a toy designer and owner of Build & Imagine. She says Legos and other construction toys are the fastest growing category in the toy industry, yet 90 percent of them are geared toward boys. If you want to see the girl’s toys she’s come up with, check out www.buildandimagine.com/.

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