by Andrea Cole
Floyd Darrow, who many remember as the Popcorn King of Darrow Road, will be honored during this year's Joshua Stow Fest.
Stow Historical Society President John Baranek said a memorial tree planting will take place during the event for Mr. Darrow, who died in April at the age of 95.
Stow Historical Society member Ed Williams said Mr. Darrow gave his family's home, along with artifacts, to the Stow Historical Society during the 1980s. The house then was moved to its current location in Silver Springs Park on Young Road. The Minnie Darrow House will be available to tour during the Joshua Stow Fest, along with the Mary Starr House and the Heritage Museum.
Mayor Karen Fritschel will plant a tree in Mr. Darrow's memory in the area in front of the Minnie Darrow House and the Mary Starr House. The tree planting will take place June 23 at 1 or 1:30 p.m.
"We want to honor him because he was well-known in the area, and he donated his house to that area [in Silver Springs Park]," said Fritschel.
Stow resident Fred Long, who serves as unofficial historian for the city, said Mr. Darrow operated a popcorn farm on Darrow Road, near Norton Road.
Mr. Darrow and his parents, Fred and Minnie Walker Darrow, started the popcorn business in 1932, and Darrow's Popcorn operated for 45 years.
"He sold a lot of bulk popcorn," said Long. "He told me once that the owner of a chain of movie theaters would buy 25 tons each year."
While the Darrow family sold popcorn directly to residents and businesses, most popcorn farmers today have contracts with companies, according to Ohio State University Extension agronomist Peter Thomison.
Popcorn is considered a specialty crop, but is grown like field corn, he said.
"Popcorn is the No. 1 specialty corn [grown] in Ohio," he said. "It's above white corn and sweet corn. It's second only to yellow dent corn."
Thomison said popcorn kernels are smaller than yellow corn kernels, but popcorn stalks can be the same height as yellow corn stalks.
"It requires a different management," he said. "It can't be overdried, because it could lose its expansion capability. Many farmers will harvest it by ear to make sure it keeps its moisture."
According to Thomison, 30 percent of Ohio's popcorn farms are located in Van Wert County, in western Ohio.