Before the first seed is ever planted, Preferred Popcorn takes great care to choose only the best popcorn varieties for each growing region. The goal of seed selection is to produce high quantities of popcorn while maintaining the excellent quality we are known for in the areas of expansion, color, kernel size, consistency, and overall taste.
The first seeds are usually planted in early March and planting season can extend through May, with the southern-most states planting earlier in the year than their northern neighbors. In addition to planting at the correct time - accurate planting depth, proper temperature conditions, consistency in the number of seeds per acre, and good soil are also essential to producing the highest quality of popcorn for our consumers. Because of this, all variables are carefully monitored by our farmers throughout the planting process.
The cultivation process is the practice of ensuring that the popcorn is provided with the necessary pest control, weed control, and nutrients to produce a high quality, healthy stalk and ear size. In order to do this, our farmers are required to use a certified crop agronomist to help determine proper plant health protocol.
Water is one of the most important resources needed by popcorn to continue healthy development and maturation after planting. When mother nature doesn't cooperate by bringing rain, nearly all of our farmers are able to use the most modern irrigating practices to ensure a healthy crop.
There are few things more satisfying than witnessing the result of your hard work. This is one of the reasons why harvest is one of the most exciting times of the year for popcorn farmers. Harvest typically occurs from August- October, depending on the region. The popcorn is harvested through the use of a combine, which carefully separates the mature grain from popcorn ears so as to not damage or harm the kernels.
Once harvested, it is of paramount importance that the high quality of the popcorn kernels is maintained from the day they are picked to the day they are shipped to the consumer. This is accomplished by ensuring optimum storage conditions for the kernels. Grain bins specialized for popcorn storage are equipped with the most recent technology that monitors and controls the kernel temperature and moisture levels. By carefully supervising the popcorn kernel's storage environment we can ensure that the popcorn will meet our customer's performance specifications when popped.
Before being shipped to the customer, the popcorn grain is carefully sorted based on weight, color, and kernel size so that only the best kernels are ultimately bagged and sent to our customers. In order to guarantee the quality of our product, Preferred Popcorn continuously works to achieve the highest standards in food safety. This is exemplified in our BRC certification, which serves as the highest global standard for food safety requirements in over 100 countries worldwide.
The final step of the process our popcorn goes through is that of bagging and shipping. During this step, the popcorn is carefully weighed and measured into each popcorn bag so every customer can be sure they will get exactly what they ordered. From there, bags of popcorn kernels are carefully loaded on to trucks, cargo ship containers, and trains as they make their way to popcorn lovers all over the world!