Written by Dee Shore
On his farm near Four Oaks, Jason Barbour grows a lot of the usual North Carolina crops – tobacco, sweet potatoes, small grains, soybeans and corn. But in recent years he’s added a crop that wouldn’t make that list: popcorn.
The fourth-generation farmer said he’s always willing to try new things once and see how it goes. A popcorn merchant he’d met by chance at a Smithfield shopping center was interested in selling locally grown popcorn, and he contracted with Barbour to grow the crop.
So far, the popcorn endeavor has been a success: In 2017, he more than doubled production from about 7 acres to 17 acres to meet the merchant’s increased demand.