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Teenager Makes Money Raising Mini Popcorn
Shelly Hoff, Underwood, Minn., started gardening when she was 2 years old, dropping seed potatoes into hills in the family garden. Nine years ago she discovered miniature popcorn, her first "cash crop", and now at age 16 she probably produces more "Pencil Popcorn" seed than any other grower in the country.
Her "business" was given a boost last year when Mother Earth News magazine featured her unique brand of popcorn. Thanks to that report, she received nearly 5,000 requests for seed from throughout the world, including Saudia Arabia, Turkey, Australia, Europe as well as throughout the entire U.S. and Canada.
Shelly got her first miniature popcorn seed at a local craft sale. She planted the seed from the tiny ornamental ears of corn and has been selling the excess ears to nearby florists and at local farmers's markets ever since.
Full-grown mini popcorn ears are only about 2 to 4 in. long and have yellow, burgundy, rust, black, white, purple or wine-colored kernals. The stalks, which should be grown close together to keep the cobs stunted, grow to about 5 ft. tall and have 2 to 3 cobs each. When popped, the corn is white, fluffy, and tasty, according to Shelly.
Shelly did some research into the corn and found that it may have originated with the Cochiti Indians, a tribe that lived in New Mexico, back in the 1500's.
For a sample packet of 200 miniature popcorn seeds of assorted colors, send a $1.00 with a self-addressed envelope stamped with 37 cents postage, to: FARM SHOW Followup, Shelly Hoff, Rt. 1, Box 171, Underwood, Minn. 56586 (ph 218 826-6793).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1