At Ontario Popping Corn, everything from storage and cleaning of the corn to packaging and shipping is state-of-the-art, immaculately clean and efficiently organized. Their warehousing and shipping area is climate-controlled, eliminating any need for fumigants to keep the product free from pests. Nothing is wasted. Both the large processing, packaging and distribution area and the shop where the equipment is maintained are heated by corn furnaces. Kernels that are sorted out as either too large or too small for their products are sold to bird food producers. Any remaining by-product is taken to the woodlot to feed the deer.
Livia and Blair, president, bought the company from Blair’s father and three associates, and took over in 1988, while they were still growing tobacco on their farm, with popping corn providing only secondary income. Slowly but surely, with effort and increased marketing savvy, popping corn overtook the tobacco until, in 2007, they made the decision to make it their main business (although they do now grow soybeans in rotation). Because of growing demand, ten to 15 percent of their popping corn crop is now organic. From the initial single type, the selection has grown to eight different varieties of popping corn, and Blair and Livia ship it all over. Although they sell some to larger snack food companies who market it under their own labels, much of their product goes into bags labelled ‘Uncle Bob’s Popcorn’, a name with 26 years of history attached. It was named after Blair’s late father, who was known to everyone as Uncle Bob.