7 Small Midwest Companies Doing Cool Things with Corn
If anyone knows corn, it's Midwesterners. Check out these small, mostly family-run businesses, all making delicious, healthful ingredients for your pantry and table (and all available online).
Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, Missouri
Mark and Marissa Gencarelli founded Yoli Tortilleria to offer Kansas Citians a more delicious and authentic tortilla. (She grew up in Sonora, Mexico.) Now they ship their two-ingredient red, blue, yellow, and white corn tortillas nationwide. The quantities are large (consider going in on the purchase with a friend!), but if you're in KC, you can pop into the shop to buy a smaller quantity.
Related: Border-Hop Between Kansas and Missouri to Fully Savor the Food, Sports and Culture of Kansas City
Riehle's Select Popcorn, Sunman, Indiana
Popcorn is popcorn, right? Nope. In southeast Indiana, Riehle's Select Popcorn offers myriad non-GMO varieties, in an array of gorgeous sunset hues, all grown on a farm that's been in the family since 1910. Order the Mini Sampler of Unpopped Corn to taste-test a dozen types, or try the Harvest Variety blend—Ruby Red, Shaman Blue, and Goldenrod.
Pinole Blue, Wichita, Kansas
Pinole is ground, roasted corn that's been around since the Aztecs, and is known to build distance-running endurance among the Tarahumara people of Chihuahua. Eddie Sandoval founded Pinole Blue to bring this staple ingredient of his childhood to the Midwest. His company sells tortillas, cookies and instant atole mix—a warm, lightly sweetened and spiced cornmeal drink traditionally served at breakfast.
McKaskle Family Farm, Hayti, Missouri
McKaskle Family Farm is a certified-organic fifth-generation farm specializing in grains such as rice, corn and oats. Their consistency, quality and scale earned them a spot as one of Chipotle's ingredient suppliers, and they also market their own brand, called Braggadocio, of premium polenta, grits and popcorn (as well as rice and rice flour).
Meadowlark Organics, Ridgeway, Wisconsin
One-time cooks at New York's celebrated restaurant Prune moved home to Wisconsin and now run Meadowlark Organics, where they farm and mill grains, corn and dry beans. You'll immediately see, smell and taste in products like their sweet, beautiful red-flecked cornmeal, which is so fresh and minimally processed that it requires refrigeration (or freezing). Be sure to check out their monthly grain subscriptions, organized by helpful names such as "The I Don't Bake (Much)."
Tiny But Mighty Foods, Shellsburg, Iowa
The star here is a petite seed (which grows on wee ears) that was first discovered in the 1850s. These petite kernels yield a popcorn that's beloved by folks with digestive conditions (or those who just like to eat adorably small food, or who want less debris stuck in their teeth). Sold online and in stores nationwide, Tiny But Mighty popcorn is available unpopped, in plain and flavored microwave varieties, or in ready-to-snack bags.
Related: Easy Snack and Nut Mixes
Shagbark Seed and Mill, Athens, Ohio
Made from nixtamalized organic corn, Shagbark Seed and Mill's cult-favorite tortilla chips have a deep corn flavor and sturdy structure that will seriously up your guac game. (They're available online and also in many stores, especially in Ohio.) But that's not all they make. Check out their grits, cornmeal, spelt pasta, pinto beans and more—all made from crops grown on farms across Ohio using sustainable methods.