A local popcorn company is getting national exposure thanks to a spread in Food Network Magazine.

But when the magazine emailed Dean George at Not Just Popcorn in Edinburgh, he had trouble believing it.

“We did some research to make sure this was real,” George said.

But it wasn’t a scam, and in the June 2015 issue of Food Network Magazine, Not Just Popcorn’s Fireball flavor was selected for the “Anyway You Pop It” feature.

Story continues below gallery

Sarah Weinberg, who is the senior associate editor of Food Network Magazine, said the magazine was looking for unique popcorn flavors to showcase.

“When we were looking at the popcorn trend across the country, we noticed a big boom in flavors beyond the usual butter or caramel,” Weinberg said.

George described Fireball as a sweet and spicy cinnamon flavor. He said it’s an original creation by Carole Ann Buck, who sells her flavors online through the Not Just Popcorn website.

“It’s got some zing to it,” George said.

Buck, who has developed more than 400 popcorn recipes, said her customers inspire her to create new flavors. She said one day a customer requested popcorn with a spicy taste, so Fireball was born.

“It’s not overly hot, but you’ve definitely got a hotter than cinnamon taste,” Buck said.

Buck said she’s very secretive about what goes into her flavors, including the ingredients that give Fireball its spicy kick.

But she did admit Red Hots candy play a role in creating the award-winning taste.

George said he first heard about the Anyway You Pop It spread in February, when Weinberg emailed him and requested samples of some of Not Just Popcorn’s best flavors.

Food Network Magazine took samples from gourmet popcorn companies across the United States and studied them to determine which 30 flavors would be chosen for the feature.

“Not Just Popcorn’s Fireball stood out as a unique one,” Weinberg said, “and the color was just as attention-grabbing as the taste.”

The spread features a picture of the kernel of each of the selected 30 flavors, as well as the name of the flavor and the company that sells it. Weinberg said there were no winners or losers in the spread.

“It was just a selection of fun flavors from across the country,” she said.

Fireball is the second flavor on the list, in between the Maple Bacon flavor from Cordova, Tennessee, and the Buckeye Caramel Drizzle out of Burton, Ohio.

One other Indiana popcorn — Crab Legs — was featured in the spread. That flavor was developed by ChicagoLand Popcorn out of Merrillville.

George said he’s already seen a jump in business because of the Anyway You Pop It feature.

“We’ve had some sales promos and some interest,” he said. “We’re getting half a dozen orders from it.

George said the feature even led to Not Just Popcorn being asked to co-sponsor the upcoming Fireball Festival in Crescent City, Illinois. The festival, which only happens once every five years, memorializes a 1970 collision between two train cars that launched a fireball 1,000 feet above the city.

“Fireball popcorn will be at the Fireball Festival,” George said.

The festival will take place Friday through Sunday.

And while Buck said she doesn’t have a clue why Food Network would ask to feature her recipe in its magazine, she’s thrilled with the exposure.

“I think we must be doing something right,” she said.

At a glance: Fireball popcorn

Flavor: Sweet and spicy cinnamon

Ingredients: Red Hots

Color: Firetruck red

Category: Premium flavors

Cost: Quarter-pound bag, $3.75; half-pound bag, $7.50; one-pound bag, $15

To place an order: popcorncarnival.com

Not Just Popcorn

Location: 114 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh. Phone, 812-526-8256

Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Owner: Carole Ann Buck

Online: Visit notjustpopcorn.com

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.