April 4, 2017 Popcorn News

See what's new in popcorn news for April 4, 2017

Popcorn Science Experiment

Thirty-five students from Good Shepherd Catholic School in St. Johnsbury attended the 25th annual Northeast Kingdom Science Fair at Lyndon State College recently.

popcorn science projectPopcorn science fair project

Two students presented their experiment on popcorn: which microwave popcorn pops the greatest percentage of kernels.

Don't know what their results were, but this is a question many of you might be wondering yourselves! 

From:  Caledonia Record, Northeastern Vermont and Northern New Hampshire, April 3, 2017

New Popcorn Business

New businesses continue to pop up around town and it's a good sign for the economy in Midland, Texas.

One of those new businesses includes popcorn premiere.

Owner Brandy Sanders says their love for the salty snack is what encouraged them to open up the store in Midland.

popcorn businessNew popcorn business starting

Sanders says so far the response from the community has been great.

"Giving samples of popcorn is our favorite thing to do. We love getting the responses from everybody's faces and their like oh that's so good. You know and that's just really exciting."

Popcorn premiere is more than just your average butter popcorn.

The store is filled with flavors like Watermelon, Oreo and even Fried Pickle.

From:  CBS 7 Midland, Texas

Popcorn Theft? 

Coming soon to a theater near you: a hungry hacker trying to steal your popcorn.

Cinematography graduate student Xinzhong “Golden” Zhao directed a 30-second commercial to promote the movie-going experience and became a finalist for Coca-Cola and Regal Films’ commercial contest.

In Zhao’s commercial, an on-screen character frantically types on a computer and hears the slurp of a soda and the crunch of popcorn kernels coming from the movie audience.

He reaches past the movie screen into the theater seats to grab some for himself. In the UCLA students’ commercial, a hacker reaches past the movie screen and grabs a soda from a moviegoer. (Courtesy of Xinzhong Zhao)

stealing popcornStealing popcorn through the movie screen

“Our idea was to bridge the connection between audience and screen,” Zhao said.

Stealing my popcorn in the movie theater? Yikes! Is nothing sacred? 

From: Daily Bruin, UCLA, April 5, 2017

Local Grown Popcorn is Fresher and Tastes Better

“Different corn kernels have different destinies. Many ears wind up back on the farm, feeding livestock, but most think of the sweet variety, slathered in butter, tasting of the summer sun.

“Fourth-generation Johnston County farmer Jason Barbour of Four Oaks knows feed corn and sweet corn, but last year, he added popcorn, falling into a production contract while out shopping one night.

“He planted eight acres of popcorn, one of the few Johnston County farmers to deal with the crop. His buyer is Popcorn Haven in Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield, the contract reminiscent of farming a few decades back, when the buying cycle had a tight local center.

“ ‘My wife and I had been going to the Carolina Pottery UPS box to send something off, and another farmer I knew came up to me and said to go see the popcorn man,’ Barbour said. ‘(That farmer) doesn't grow corn and said the store wanted to buy its popcorn from a North Carolina farmer.’

“The popcorn guy is Robert Miller, who runs the Popcorn Haven shop. Miller had been buying his kernels from Sysco and other large food-distribution companies, but he had been on the lookout for North Carolina popcorn for local appeal.

growing popcorn locallyGrowing popcorn locally

“Barbour said he didn't have much experience in popcorn but was willing to give it a shot.

 “ ‘I didn't know anything about popcorn; I know dent corn and sweet corn,’ he said. ‘I had never grown no popcorn, but I’ll try anything one time, so I figured we’ll see how it goes. And it kind of worked out.’

“This year will be Barbour’s second popcorn harvest, upping last year’s eight acres to 14 this year because of demand from Miller. It’s still a new thing for Barbour, but he has the hang of it, and the crop holds its own among his 20 acres of tobacco, 20 of sweet potatoes, 100 of soy beans and 25 of dent corn for feeding.

“Barbour said growing popcorn is different from other fresh corns. He buys his seeds from the Midwest and said the corn, which is very starchy, keeps some moisture as it dries.

“ ‘So it pops,’ Barbour explained.

“Miller said Barbour is the only popcorn grower he’s found in Johnston County. He said he started looking for a local farmer as a way to support the farm-to-table trend that’s taken hold of the food world over the past decade.

“ ‘It makes sense to buy local, to support local farmers,’ Miller said. ‘It caught my eye when we started two years ago and I saw that ‘Got to be N.C.’ marketing sign.’

“Miller is confident the thousands of miles he’s cut off his kernels’ travels translates in their taste, making for a better popcorn.

“ ‘I’ll tell you this, it may seem weird, but fresh popcorn tastes better,’ Miller said. ‘Number one, it pops a lot quicker and we have more control over our moisture content. For whatever reason, compared to the stuff I get from the Midwest, you can tell a difference side by side.’

growing popcorn locally for better popcornPopcorn grown locally is fresher and tastes better

“Barbour recently won an AgVentures grant from the state, which will enable him to keep up with his nearly doubled popcorn contract. With the money he’ll purchase a popcorn cleaner.

“The grant program, Barbour said, is to fill the void left by the decline of tobacco in North Carolina, a way for farmers to diversify and move on from the lucrative golden leaf.

“ ‘It’s for farmers who want to pursue other crops and give diversity to their crops, instead of it just being tobacco that you can grow,’ Barbour said. ‘The grant helps farmers get some of the supplies or machinery needed to start other products.’

“Agriculture has defined Johnston County for as long as people have lived within its borders, with family farms down just about every paved and gravel road east and west of Interstate 95. The industry is big in North Carolina, with the state leading the nation in sweet potatoes and tobacco, but Barbour thinks North Carolina still has a ways to go to ensure its farming prominence.

“ ‘We need to push North Carolina agriculture; we’re still small in the agriculture field overall,’ Barbour said. ‘We really need to push our products and be really big on North Carolina agriculture.’ ”

From: The News & Observer, Johnston County, April 3, 2107, by J. D. Jackson