Friday, September 30, 2011

The Last Corn Post, or I Have Sweet Corn in October and You Don't

I may have mentioned in a previous post that I only bought corn from Hauser Farms in Camp Verde once this summer. It came to my attention through the grapevine or something that Hauser's was planting Roundup Ready Corn, brought to you by The Satanic Monsanto Corporation of the World. When I found out it was true, I decided Hauser's could take a flying jump before I'd ever again grace their cash box with my money.

I hadn't grown sweet corn since forever because Hauser's corn was so good, and so reasonably priced there was no profit in spending all the water and time and angst over growing my own. Not anymore.

This year, on a sort of lark, I decided very late at the end of July to plant some sweet corn in a little plot next to the giant Red Corn That Isn't Red Anymore. That plot had steadfastly refused to produce any beans and was just sitting there. I'd always heard that you could get two corn crops in a season around here but never really thought much about it.

A trip to the nursery here in Cornville yielded empty seed racks and puzzled looks on the faces of the guys at the nursery. "Nobody buys corn seed in July, it's too hot". A bit later in WalMart I found a rack gathering dust that was full of jumbo bags of Golden Bantam Late Season Heirloom Hybrid corn. Late season,...hmmmm....It was dirt cheap and clearly not a single pack had been sold and the little spinny rack the packs were displayed on had been gradually relegated to a dusty corner in the garden center.

So into the ground it went a day or two later. Must have been around the 29th of July or so as Josh was in the canyon and I planted by myself. It came right up and flourished. You can see it about half grown in the foreground of the picture I took of the red corn in the post below.

Today I started picking. It's been so long since I grew corn that I'd forgotten how to know when to pick so I've been peeking the last few days. You can carefully peel back just enough husk to get a look and not hurt the ear much. I strip off a piece of green husk and tie it around the end of the ear after I've looked if it's not ready. Keeps the ear tip from drying out before the rest of the ear is ready.

A little reading turns up that this variety goes way back to the beginning of the 20th century and predates all the modern super sweet hybrids. Personally, I like my corn to taste like corn. The modern stuff tastes like it's had sugar dumped on it to the point where you can't taste the corn, or maybe there's nothing to taste besides sugar. The modern corn also, to me, has no "tooth", there's no body, no substance. I'll take it crisp but a bit chewy thank you very much, and hint the sweetness to me will you? I don't need to be slapped in the face with it.

Anyhow, there's a lotta corn out there in the 6 little rows I planted. Looks like it's going to come on in nice stages of eight to twelve ears at a time over the next week or so. Perfect. I'll be planting this again. The photo here was taken today, right after I brought in the first ten ears. Katie and I immediately steamed up two of them and sat down at 9 in the morning and chowed them down, making all sorts of Homer Simpson eating sounds. All you people lamenting the end of sweet corn season, eat your hearts out!