It all started with a trip to Costco.

As farmer Mark Baird tells it, he and his wife, Linda, were at Costco and he noticed that nearly one in five carts had a few boxes of a healthy brand of popcorn, containing only a few ingredients.

"I told Linda, 'What are we missing here? People are buying this, we have kernels. It's locally grown, why can't we sell it?'" he said. "'People like it, it's one of the few healthy snacks left. Why don't we try it?'"

Years later, the idea is now Groomsville Popcorn. They sell their original flavor, called "Sea Salt" made only with sea salt, coconut oil and popcorn kernels, kettle corn and gourmet flavors including cheddar, caramel and chocolate drizzle.

The Baird family was already farming and selling sweet corn and popcorn kernels, and Mark thought they should make the jump to popping and selling their snacks at farmer's markets. 

"We quickly learned that people wanted the real deal. They want it ready to go," he said. 

That was in 2014, around the same time their son, Jacob Baird, was graduating from Purdue University and wanted to come back to the family farm. 

The Bairds have been farmers for generations, and their immediate family's farm is about 300 acres of farmland, eight of which are dedicated to popcorn. 

Jacob and his wife, Amanda, run the popcorn business now. The couple met at Purdue University in Amanda's freshman year and Jacob's sophomore year. 

"When we met, Jacob immediately got me hooked on sweet corn," she said. "Then once we shifted into popcorn, there was a learning curve, but we love it."

Groomsville Popcorn has three kinds of kernels - mushroom, butterfly and white, which is the original popcorn. Mushroom is the kind of kernel that looks like a ball when popped, usually used for caramel corn or other gourmet flavors, and butterfly popcorn blooms out into a small, symmetrical shape, Amanda said. 

"Our next flavor will be something spicy, like a cayenne or jalapeno," Jacob said. "We'll flavor it with something we grow here on the farm."

The two took part in two business plan competitions, placing third both times.

"I think that really helped us going into this, we already knew about finances and just everything we needed to know about the economics of the farm," said Amanda.

They put in a lot of hours. The couple, with help from Mark and a few friends, travel to eight farmer's markets in Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Binford and Broad Ripple. Sometimes the couple stays up all night popping for for the next day's market. 

"I've always said farmer's markets are the heart of our business and always will be," she said. "You get to know the people, you learn their birthdays and you grow with them."

When asked if they have a day off, Amanda hesitated with a smile. Sunday is the day of rest, and Monday is more laid-back, but not a day off. 

Jacob covers the labor and production part of the business, and Amanda covers the promotion, marketing and social media part of the business. The Groomsville sticker on the popcorn is a burgundy red with a gold script, and looks very corporate, but at the Bairds' farm, they harvest and pop it themselves.

Amanda's degree work focused on agricultural education and environmental science. She even works with the Purdue Extension office in Hamilton County as an ag educator, and she encouraged everyone to get to know their local farmers. 

"The local farmer can surprise you. It can be anyone, a younger kid growing crops in his backyard, an older person, a minority, female," she said. "I want people to know that there's an old concept of what our local farmer is and it's outdated. Farmers are so hard-working and willing to answer any of your questions. If you want to ask your farmer, your farmer will tell you anything you want to know." 

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