Editors' Choice

A Rare Type Of Corn Gives You Rare Popcorn

Diana Rolland / December 15, 2016

Today, we’re looking at a video posted to a food and lifestyle channel on YouTube named Zagat. They posted the video on the 21st of October, 2016. The Zagat team head on over to “Tiny But Mighty Popcorn” where they meet the Mealhow family at their farm in Shellsburg, Iowa. Heading the farm is Gene Mealhow and he shares with everyone just what is so special about the popcorn that they produce. Well, first off, it all starts with the corn that’s used. The Mealhow’s use a rare heirloom corn that has been around for centuries. However, surprisingly enough, this farm is the only one producing this type of corn commercially! Gene grows all of his corn organically (but he’s not recognized or certified as being an organic farmer because he wasn’t a fan of the “politics” involved in getting certified)  and is the only open pollinated “popcorn breeder” in Iowa and most likely the whole United States.



Gene knows his customers are legit, referring to them as PPE’s which stands for professional popcorn eaters. The unique corn used to create their popcorn produces much smaller kernels, and when the kernel is cooked the hull gets cooked as well so it becomes part of what you consume. There’s no need to reach for the toothpicks when you’ve been snacking on some Tiny But Mighty Popcorn. There is also a distinct difference in the flavor of the popcorn as well. Gene describes his popcorn as having “a nutty corn flavor.”


Gene grows and harvests 400 acres of his specialty corn which yields him upwards of 3,200 pounds of popcorn per acre. Unlike traditional corn where one seed will likely grow just one plant, Gene’s seeds have no fixed amount from a single seed. Each seed sprouts multiple stalks and each leaf on each stalk grows its own ear of corn. Roughly a billion pounds of popcorn is produced globally and Gene and his farm accounts for only about 2,000,000 pounds of that.


To learn more about the farm, what they offer, and where you can pick up a bag yourself, check out their website here!