Sweet summer bounty; Sweet corn sales going full tilt
Published 7:45 am Monday, July 31, 2017
The skies are blue, the husks are green — the perfect time for that golden, sweet, sweet corn.
The midsummer treat is overflowing trucks and street corner stands.
And although the crop was a wee bit late this year, it was worth the wait and more.
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Steve Williams of Honey Tree Farm, who grows 15 acres of sweet corn to sell directly to Hy-Vee, SuperFresh and a Brownsdale convenience store, says there is good reason for heightened interest this year.
“It is, at this point, the nicest corn we’ve had — we’ve had some as good, but never any better,” he said.
The combination of timely rains, and “temperatures in the 80s, lows in the 60s — that’s ideal for a really nice crop,” he said. He began selling on July 24.
“We’ve been busy everyday,” said Kellie Baier, 17, hired by Collin and Tory’s Sweet Corn of Ellendale to work their stand in the Pizza Ranch lot on 18th Street Northwest on Friday.
Baier, who will be a senior next year at Austin High School, and fellow employee, Edgardo Cervantes, 16, a junior at AHS. They clearly enjoy the summer job.
Although they sell watermelon and tomatoes, too, customer focus was clearly on the corn.
From 10 a.m. to about 6 p.m., said Baier, the bicolor corn — some might call it peaches and cream corn — is sold. Last weekend, when the stand first opened, she added, the supply had to be replenished.
“And we’ve had repeat customers, which is good,” she said.
The pair not only sells the corn, they enjoy eating it, too. Baier said the best way to eat it is boiled — for only 3 minutes, mind you, otherwise it will lose flavor — and then spread with lots of butter.
Cervantes said roasted is better yet.
“I really like it on the grill,” he said with a smile.
And, true to the season and the pull of the golden ears, it wasn’t long before the pair got busy again, as cars began to circle the stand for a bag of sweetness.
The Sweet Facts
•Fresh corn on the cob will lose up to 40 percent of its sugar content after six hours of room temperature storage. The sugar is converted to starch.
•There are 5,638 people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name “Corn.”
•The world record for eating corn on the cob is 33 1/2 ears in 12 minutes.
•Mitchell, South Dakota is the home of the world’s only Corn Palace. (The Corn Palace Festival is in August each year). Built in 1892, the Corn Palace was created to dramatically display the products of the harvest of South Dakota’s farmers, in murals on the outside of the building. The murals are made from thousands of bushels of corn and other grains and grasses such as wild oats, rye, straw, and wheat. Many events are held here and the most popular is the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo. But the horses must be watched carefully so they don’t eat the building.
•An average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows.
•There is one piece of silk for each kernel.
•A bushel of corn contains about 27,000 kernels.
•Each tassel on a corn plant releases as many as 5 million grains of pollen.
•Corn is an ingredient in more than 3,500 grocery products.
•One bushel of corn can make 33 pounds of sweetener, 32 pounds of starch, or 2 1/2 gallons of ethanol fuel.
•Corn is the third most important food crop of the world measured by production volume, behind wheat and rice. In terms of acreage planted, it is second only to wheat.