Every time I bite into one of the incredibly large pimples, I think I’m going to break a tooth.
But I don’t and find myself reaching into the bag for another handful.
CornNuts is perhaps the most surprising popular snack in America. And they actually have an interesting history. Grab a bag and I’ll tell you about it.
Where in the world do you find such large corn?
Peru down the road from Salina Valley, CA, by the way. But we’ll get to that shortly.
Albert Holloway first sold fried and salted whole corn kernels in the 1930s under the name Olin’s Brown Jug Toasted Corn (don’t you just love old product names?) He made the sandwich, which he quickly renamed the more familiar CornNuts . , from Texas common field corn.
Then, in one of those world-changing moments, a day shortly before World War II, Mr. Holloway saw an article in the local newspaper about a corn in Peru that grew grains of more than a quarter.
The corn was called Cuzco Gigante and was grown by farmers 9,000 feet high in the rugged Andes mountains. You can still see it served cooked in Peru and in Peruvian restaurants in America.
It didn’t take long for Holloway to make a deal and start importing the corn to make his CornNuts. But prices were high and supplies always scarce, so he tried to grow corn in the country. The problem was, no one knew how to do it.
Enter Donald Shaver, a plant breeder in Illinois. He found out about the corn growing problem and contacted Holloway to offer a deal. If CornNuts funded your ongoing research, you would be working exclusively on the project. In 1963, Shaver finally cracked the code, so to speak. It seems that the weather was the problem and that led them to the Salinas Valley in central California, near Monterrey. It has an almost perfect match with the native growing region and corn flourished. It is worth having a large country to work with.
CornNuts moved all production to California and the rest is history.
Go ahead and grab another handful.