Idaho History

Popcorn propels Crookham to success in seed business

When George L. Crookham came to Caldwell, he was looking for a way to support his family. In 1911, he settled on popcorn.

"Most every little town had its popcorn wagon on the corner," recalled his son, George Jr., who bought the company in 1930.

"There was no other confection — no candy, no soda pop."

From that modest beginning, the Crookham Co. has come to provide much of the world's seed for popcorn, hybrid sweet corn, field corn, onions and carrots.

The Crookham story illustrates the importance of diversified agriculture in Idaho. The company supplies 35 percent of the world's popcorn seed, about a million pounds a year. Crookham and five other companies in Canyon County provide 95 percent of U.S. sweet corn seed and 85 percent of the world supply.

— Excerpted from "Idaho: A Century of Pioneers The Idaho Statesman Centennial Edition July 1, 1990."