Thursday, January 19th is National Popcorn Day and one of the world's most recognizable popcorn brands is right here in Sioux City.
"We're available in about 99% of all major grocery stores in all 50 states in over 40 countries across the world." They are one of the most recognizable names in popcorn and have built their empire in Sioux City.
"We've been in Sioux City since 1914. It started in my great-grandfather's basement," said Alex Smith, 5th-generation in Jolly Time Popcorn. "I think the next year it moved to his garage, and then in 1916, we moved to this plant where we're at right now and we've stayed here ever since."
Located at One Fun Place on the north side of Sioux City, Jolly Time Popcorn is a family business through and through.
"There's a lot of pride in it and not only you know with myself, my brother works here and he has a lot of pride," Smith said of the family business. "We just all have a special bond of what you know, jolly time and what family means to us because we have this cool story that we can all share together."
And that story has really popped since its first batch. "We started in you know, selling on selling in the streets with street vendors and then you go to an old school can where you pop it now to kernel bags, and jars that you pop over the stove," Smith said, "but then microwave is just very easy to use and most convenient and you can do a lot of fun stuff with it."
While corn is one of the midwest's biggest commodities, not all are used for ethanol. Most of their popcorn is sourced within 200 miles of Sioux City.
"We've used the growers the same growers for a very long time," Smith said. "I think there are multiple growers that have been growing popcorn for three generations on their family farm."
With regionally grown white and yellow kernels, what type makes the best batch of popcorn? That may be a matter of opinion.
"The perfect patch of popcorn is probably the yellow kernels," Smith said. "There are two types of kernels white and yellow. Yellow is a little bit bigger and has a kind of a natural butter taste to it. And so I think the best batch is in the microwave just because it's a lot easier for me to make. But when it comes out hot and you can smell it. There's nothing better than that."
To find a full list of Jolly Time products, you can check them out online here.
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