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June 26, 2016

Tiny But Mighty Popcorn

by Anne Paddock

The last few seconds of popcorn popping are some of the most stressful seconds of my life.

In Iowa, the phrase “corn is king” is often used to reflect the importance farmers place on the state’s most widely grown crop.  But in Shellsburg, Iowa – about 15 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids – the phrase “Tiny But Mighty” describes the non-GMO verified corn grown on a local farm that produces an ancient heirloom popcorn originally shared by Native Americans with a pioneer family in the 1850’s.Tiny_But_Mighty_Corn_stalks

For generations, the seeds that produce the Tiny But Mighty Popcorn have been used to grow the short stalks that produce up to 36 ears of corn that measure about 3 inches long.Tiny_But_Mighty_Corn

Filled with tiny kernels and thin hulls that disintegrate when popped, the ears of corn are unique in that the plant is open pollinated (making it more difficult to grow which is why most people in the industry want nothing to do with it) and a challenge to raise and process while maintaining the integrity of the kernel. But, as the saying goes:

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.  ~William A. Foster

Tiny-But-Mighty-PopCornFor those who appreciate an outrageously delicious popcorn that is healthy, affordable, and a high fiber snack for the whole family, Tiny But Mighty Popcorn is the answer. To make this popcorn, use a pot on the stove (note: the kernels are too small to use in an air popper).

  • Simply pour 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pot (or the Stainless Steel Whirley Pop) with a lid and add 4 kernels.
  • Heat on medium/high.
  • When the test kernels pop, remove the pot from the heat and add 2/3 cup of kernels, shake to distribute and return to the heat set on medium/high.
  • When the kernels start popping, shake the pot every 20 seconds or so.
  • When there are 2-3 seconds between the pops, remove the pot from the stove and pour the contents into a big bowl and taste the sweet delicious flavor of real popcorn. The kernel is small but the flavor is big. No butter or flavorings needed.

Tiny_But_Mighty_PopcornTiny But Mighty Popcorn is sold in 20 ounce resealable packets for $5-$7, depending on the retailer. Available nationwide at TJ Maxx, selected Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Market, Hy-Vee, and other retailers (click here for a complete list). Order on-line directly from the farm (,,, and

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