The invention of microwaveable popcorn has destroyed the lost art of popping popcorn on the stove or over an open flame. Just the right amount of oil and popcorn, shuffling the pot back and forth, trying to avoid the dreaded “burning of the popcorn,” which ranks right up there as one of the stinkiest smells ever!
Conversely, one of the most mouthwatering smells anytime of the year is fresh made popcorn, popped to perfection with real butter, a little (sometimes a lot) of salt, and bada-boom bada-bing you’re ready to go!
As I mentioned before, I come from a big family and you would think at least more than one person could figure out how to pop popcorn (old style). None of us boys had the patience to stand over the stove that long — especially without trying to open the lid and sneak some popcorn out while it was cooking, or walking away to make sure we were not missing anything on the T.V. just long enough to burn it. Yuck! But we had one sister who had it down pat — just like the one sister who could make fudge, another sister who made killer potato pancakes, one that knew grandma’s recipe for chicken-paprikash, one who can broil a cheese sandwich to perfection in a gas oven, and one who bakes award winning cakes from scratch.
Getting that one sister to make popcorn for us was a special treat. We loved it. Who doesn’t love popcorn? Ohioans love growing it too. We have over 155 farms that raise popcorn on over 25,000 acres, and they produce nearly 90 million pounds of product annually.
There are several farmers in our area that raise popcorn. One of the first stories we did on our T.V. show was with a popcorn producer from Spencerville, who was growing for Orville Redenbacher. Late that year we visited Wyandot Snack Company, located in Marion, Ohio. Marion is also home of the annual Popcorn Festival and the famous Popcorn Museum.
The Wyandot Snack Company was originally known as the Wyandot Popcorn Company founded in Wyandot County, Ohio, in 1936. Still family-owned and professionally-managed, Wyandot is considered the premier manufacturer of grain based snacks in the Contract Manufacturing, Private Label, and Foodservice channels.
The Marion Popcorn Festival in downtown Marion, Ohio, is the largest popcorn festival in the world, annually attracting crowds in excess of 250,000. The 2018 Marion Popcorn Festival is set for the first weekend after Labor Day Sept. 6, 7 and 8 — www.popcornfestival.com
When In Marion you have to visit the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. Not only is it one of only two Popcorn Museums in the world, it also represents the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques.
Did you know — Popcorn as a breakfast cereal was consumed by Americans in the 1800s and generally consisted of popcorn with milk and a sweetener. History indicates that French explorers enjoyed a dinner prepared by the Iroquois that included popcorn soup and popcorn beer! Most of the world’s popcorn is grown in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and of course Ohio.
Here’s to Ohio’s rich popcorn history, and hopefully continued popping profits for our farmers.
Here’s seeing you In Ohio Country!
The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.