Popping corn (not corks) in Champaign

While my host, Jim, has spent most of his life working for the University of Illinois, he’s continued to dabble in farming. His father, Walker, was interested in growing popcorn so Jim has followed in his footsteps and grows about half an acre of the stuff with his son-in-law, Bruce.

We went and checked on the crops this morning and they’re looking pretty good. Illinois had some heavy rain over the spring which led to water-logging in some fields and patches where the corn hasn’t come through at all, but Jim’s popcorn all looks healthy, despite his concerns about the arrival of dreaded Japanese beetles.


This is red popcorn, a variety I’ve never seen before. Once it’s ripe in the autumn Jim and Bruce harvest it, process it and pack it using Jim’s father’s old machinery which they’ve automated themselves by adding motors. The tractor they use is even belongs to Mr Evans Snr, circa 1945:

Old tractor

Et voila, here’s the finished article:

Red popcorn
It’s sold health food stores and gourmet food shops, apparently it tastes nuttier than white or yellow varieties so it tends to go well.

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1 Response to “Popping corn (not corks) in Champaign”

  1. Organic duck

    I always fancied selling Popcorn, when it is popped and sold it has one of the biggest mark ups in the food industry. No doubt the farmer doesn’t make so much!