Valley Bounty: Popcorn

Local popcorn fits the bill when you’re looking for food that’s fun and healthy. It’s got entertainment and educational value for kids, who often have no idea that kernels start on cobs and don’t look white and fluffy from the get-go. There are all kinds of ways to dress up popcorn, and we provide several options on the Valley Bounty page. One of the simplest is to add a smashed clove of garlic to your melting butter. Look for local popcorn (in the jar or on the cob) at farmers’ markets and retailers that prioritize local sourcing.

Valley Bounty is written by Margaret Christie


Several local farms grow popcorn and sell it at farmers’ market, farmstands, and through their CSA shares. It’s often available at winter farmers markets or in fall and winter CSA sharesPioneer Valley Popcorn’s Local Hero listing includes a list of retail outlets where you can find their corn.


Popcorn has probably provided both entertainment and good eating for centuries, but its amusement value has increased a lot since the takeover of microwave popcorn. Few kids today have shelled corn, and many have never even seen it pop. Kids are thrilled to peek in on the popping kernels in a pot on the stove, or to watch them cascade out of an air popper.

If you’ve tried popping local corn and were displeased with the results, make sure the corn is dry enough—leave it vented in a warm area for several days.

If you’ve never popped corn on the stove top, here are directions.


There are endless options for spiced popcorn. Google or your spice drawer will yield lots of ideas, and here are some of our favorites.

Basic Plus: Fresh popcorn; melted butter with a smashed garlic clove; nutritional yeast, salt or tamari to taste.

Maple popcorn. This is still plenty sweet and maple-y if you increase the quantity of popcorn quite a lot.

Popcorn for dinner! Former CISA staffer Abby Getman loves Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA’s popcorn nachos, claiming they revolutionized dinner at her house.