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Our Story

 

Nostalgic memories of stove-top popcorn and family traditions inspired Matt, Michelle and Lily Ella Helms to search for a popcorn of superior quality and taste. Many taste-testings later, we discovered a small yellow seed that popped into a huge, tender, flavorful white popcorn. The size, flavor, low-hull, and overall appearance made it a unanimous favorite at each taste-testing party. Soon after, Ella & Ollie Popcorn was born.

Fortunately, our love for popcorn and history of family farming made it an easy leap to grow this culinary delight on Helms Farms. For over 150 years and across seven generations, the Helms family has been farming in Belleville, IL, just 16 miles from the St. Louis Arch.


Meet Lily Ella—7th generation of our family of farmers and lead taster in the Ella & Ollie kitchen and her 4th generation great-grandfather Oliver with his wife Anna.

The name Ella & Ollie recognizes the 7th generation, our daughter Lily Ella, and the 4th generation, her great-grandfather Oliver. We honor Grandpa Ollie and each generation of our family of farmers (The Helms, Stutz and Squire Myers families) through our new venture.


We hope you enjoy our quality, heirloom popcorn and create lasting family memories with Ella & Ollie.

 
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I haven’t made popcorn at home since I was a kid. Having a movie night with the backyard neighbors and popped some of the good stuff!!!! It is great and Lily, my 11-year-old daughter loved making it with me. Used olive oil and threw some butter in right after dropping in the corn. It also makes the house smell awesome. I give it 10 out 10!
— Dennis S.

what makes us different, makes us Better.


Heirloom Variety: Ella & Ollie is an heirloom variety offering superior quality, taste and nutrition over the more common hybridized varieties. Heirloom means that it has had the same genetics for a minimum of 50 years and not been crossed with another popcorn.  Modern hybrids may offer better yields but they do not compare to heirloom with quality taste and nutrition.  

Superior Flavor. Our customers and retailers have taste-tested Ella & Ollie against big-box store varieties and report that Ella & Ollie is clearly superior in flavor.

Maximum Popability: That’s popcorn lingo for the percentage of kernels that pop, resulting in very few old maids! We strive for an ideal popcorn moisture content between 13.5%-14.5%. If moisture is too low, the seed will not pop and if it is too high, the flavor will not be crisp. We are careful to harvest at the optimal time and store the conditioned popcorn in a climate-controlled environment to achieve and maintain optimal moisture.

Low Hull: This means less popcorn stuck in your teeth! The outer shell, or hull, of popcorn explodes when exposed to high temperatures. The brown portion of the popped corn is the outer shell that remains intact after popping. Ella & Ollie’s heirloom seed leaves a low amount of hull intact after it pops.  

Large Popping Volume: The ratio of unpopped to popped popcorn ranges from 1:20 up to 1:50 for the largest of varieties. Ella & Ollie’s popping ratio is 1:44, meaning it pops 44 times larger than its seed.  

Locally Produced and Sustainable Packaging: Our farm, business, and retailers are all local to the St. Louis metropolitan area. We predominately use glass-jar packaging to provide a more sustainable approach compared to plastic. We encourage reuse of Ella & Ollie glass jars: use them to store food, as a vase or candle holder, or to drink your favorite beverage. We even run specials in the 63119 and 63122 zip codes to occasionally refill Ella & Ollie popcorn jars at a discounted price—just like or follow us on Facebook. 

Ella & Ollie has become my go-to. The fresh taste and quality are incomparable—I can’t get enough!
— MAGGIE B.
 
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Just popped our first batch…reminded me of my mom making popcorn when I was little.
— Jenn P.
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HOW WE DO POPCORN.

At our house, popping Ella & Ollie is a fun, creative experience. We like to experiment with different oils, seasonings and even preparation methods. The combinations are endless, and each is a unique experience.

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Pop goodness in every bowl.

Nutritionally, popcorn is one of the best all-around snack foods you can select. It is a healthy whole grain, high in essential vitamins and minerals, low in fat and calories, high in fiber and antioxidants, gluten-free and non-GMO.

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Loyal To Local.

Besides our commitment to harvesting the very best heirloom popcorn—we have a fierce loyalty to local businesses. That way, the money stays close to home and is reinvested with in our community. We are loyal to our locals.