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"Rocky" purple and gold popcorn, produced at the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture's Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, is offered in plastic bags, and is also now available in microwaveable bags, as well as in mixed purple and gold kernels still on the cob. Contact the School of Ag at WIU at (309) 298-1080 for more information. Photo courtesy of Joel Gruver
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"Rocky" Purple and Gold Popcorn Available in Microwaveable Bags Too

December 15, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- Looking for a holiday gift that is sure to be "pop"ular with friends and family? Western Illinois University's School of Agriculture is now offering an expanded line of purple and gold popcorn possibilities. According to Joel Gruver, assistant professor in the School of Ag, "Rocky" purple and gold popcorn, which is still offered in the traditional half-pound bags first sold in 2007, is also now available in microwaveable bags, as well as in gift packs of mixed purple and gold kernels still on the cob.

Recently harvested on WIU's Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, all three options sell for $2 per package and are available from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 through Friday, Dec. 18 and from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Dec. 23 in the School of Agriculture's main office (Knoblauch Hall 145) on the WIU-Macomb campus.

Gruver, who also serves as director of Western's Allison Farm, noted that Rocky microwaveable popcorn is an exciting new product steered from concept to marketplace by Jason Quaglia, a senior business major from Chicago (IL).

"Jason walked into my office last spring with an idea, which has led the way on an unexpected entrepreneurial adventure ever since," Gruver noted. "We decided to diversify the purple and gold microwave popcorn so that we could increase sales to students and other people that appreciate the convenience of microwaving."

Gruver explained that the unique popcorn product is pre-seasoned with a delicious butter flavor and is available in the standard microwaveable bag.

"We produce the popcorn by planting alternating rows of purple and gold seeds in the field. The purple color is a dominant trait, and the plants from the purple seeds produce all purple ears. The plants from gold seeds produce ears with varying amounts of purple and gold kernels depending on how much purple pollen lands on the silks," he added.

Gruver noted that this past season provided a "big break," when they planted a new popcorn variety called "Shaman's Blue."

"The Shaman's Blue plants produced big, well-filled ears with a beautiful purple color. After two years of needing to ration purple kernels, it is great to finally have an abundance of purple popcorn," Gruver said.

For more information about the Allison Organic Farm (located in southern Warren County, seven miles north of Sciota), contact Gruver at (309) 298-1172 or Learn more about WIU's Organic Research program and organic farming by visiting To purchase Rocky Popcorn, visit the School of Agriculture at Knoblauch Hall 145 or call (309) 298-1080.

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