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The State of Sweet Corn, 2012


Pierogi
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So, every night on the evening news, I've been seeing the reports about the horrendous drought in the middle of the country, and what it's doing to the crops, most especially corn. Apparently, according to the network sayers of doom, everything from gas to beef to clothing to cosmetics are going to cost astronomically more in the months to come, because they all use corn (or ethanol) in some way, shape or form.

Well, today I went to the local MegaMart, and thought I'd get a couple of ears of sweet corn to toss on the barbie over the weekened. I mean, it's Summer, peak corn season, and I was relatively sure the corn would be somewhat local (I mean, really, I live in Southern California, we grow EVERYTHING here save peonies and real lilacs). I bought corn a couple of weeks ago for 4th of July, at the same store, and it was lovely. Juicy, fresh, CHEAP, squeeky it was so recently picked.

Today. Well, today was a totally different story. The display was about 1/4 of the size I expected. The husks were dry and sad looking, and most ears didn't have silk or tassels showing. Those that did had blackened, desiccated silks, that looked as though they'd been picked LAST July. And when I tried to burst a kernal with my thumb nail (yes, I'm one of those....), there was no milk whatsoever to be seen. And the price was about double what it had been 2 weeks ago.

I was stunned. Again, somehow I thought that the corn I was buying was from California, and we'd be somehow immune to at least the fresh corn scourge. I guess not. I guess our sweet corn, at least in the MegaMartz, is trucked in from the arid Midwest. I'm sad.....corn's one of the best things about Summer.

What's the corn like in your neck of the woods?

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Here in Northeastern Minnesota we can't tell the difference. Well, at least, I can't. The truck stands are sprouting as always; the source of the corn is steadily moving northward from the state's southern border as the season progresses. My husband, who is the true corn afficionado in our family, declares it to be wonderful.

The supply may be shorter, based on comments from some of the truck-sellers, but I'm not seeing it. The quality seems the same.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We haven't looked for corn yet in East Central Ontario and it's still too early for local. Still, I am hoping to be able to buy it local and fresh by mid-August when we host our Annual Dog Weekend. Saturday supper tradition.

Still we have now been without rain for some time and the hemp - we are a hemp farm - is looking a mite peaked. Vacationers hope for sun; farmers hope for rain (but not too much either).

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I have been getting local SoCal sweet corn in my CSA box for the last month and it's been good. I thought the fresh corn in TJ's last week looked pretty good too but I didn't try any.

But nothing compares to the sweet corn memories from my childhood growing up in northern NY. Mr. Cooper would pick corn for his farmstand in the late afternoon - folks from town bought the corn picked that morning but us locals knew to wait until just before dinner so it was less than a hour from the field to our plates. The barest touch of tooth to the cob would cause the delicate pearly kernels to explode with sweetness and flavor. The corn I get these days has great sweetness and good flavor but is not quite so supremely tender as my old summer memories. But isn't that always the case ....

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The rain has been spotty around this part of Pennsylvania for the past month and most of the thunderstorms had skipped to the north or south of us. This has resulted in an odd situation in the sweet corn patch which has short, skinny stalks and ears developing about 1.5 to 3 feet off the ground. The moisture that was around was evidently reserved for the ears, however, as they are full and juicy.

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We have 56 acres of field corn. Had the same amount last year and lost it all due to the river running dry which runs our irrigation. The river ran out of water on Monday, July 16th this year. However, it's good enough to harvest.

I went to Dillon's yesterday and there was a display of sweet corn. It didn't look very good. Also, in years past, there were roadside stands on about every corner, not so this year.

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We have 56 acres of field corn. Had the same amount last year and lost it all due to the river running dry which runs our irrigation. The river ran out of water on Monday, July 16th this year. However, it's good enough to harvest.

I went to Dillon's yesterday and there was a display of sweet corn. It didn't look very good. Also, in years past, there were roadside stands on about every corner, not so this year.

So glad you are able to save your corn.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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The garden we helped with at a friends home had 1 row of great corn, just because it was reaching the water that they had hooked up to a sprinkler. The rest didn't do much at all. Saw different fields,(fields, not gardens) in different areas around here a couple weeks ago that were definitely ruined...so sad to see that much gone. Feel so sorry for the farmers.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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So far I've bought corn about five times this season (it has only appeared at the farmers' market the last week or so) and it has been hit or miss. The first corn I saw was at Mi Pueblo, the giant Mexican supermercado, and that a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly good and reasonably priced at 3 ears for a dollar. The last few purchases have been from the Berkeley farmers market, but the corn from the vendor I preferred for the last couple of years wasn't as good as previously, and not as good as someone else's corn. Yesterday I bought corn from two different vendors. One batch, a milk and honey variety, was excellent--a nine out of ten. The other batch seems okay but not supersweet. We ate the bicolor corn right away for a late lunch, and today I will see how the less good corn is in fritters. Total crap shoot here!

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Plenty of excellent Brentwood corn in the Bay Area at this time. And for the first time there is a small showing of yellow corn. For maybe a decade we have had almost nothing but super-sweet white corn, perhaps the choice of the younger generations but not what we grew up with. Hallelujah!

eGullet member #80.

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Plenty of excellent Brentwood corn in the Bay Area at this time. And for the first time there is a small showing of yellow corn. For maybe a decade we have had almost nothing but super-sweet white corn, perhaps the choice of the younger generations but not what we grew up with. Hallelujah!

Corn other than what we call Peaches and Cream, super sweet corn, would be a delight. All the kinds of corn we used to be able to buy, Chieftain is one name I recall, are all gone. Nothing but super sweet now.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Most of the stuff @ farmers markets/Road side are throw in the back of pick-ups!! I just think our 100 plus temps even with canapes over truck is heating the corn way to fast.

What I have got.. is nothing like past yrs. Kernels are a bit dense and seemed over developed!!

Its good to have Morels

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The markets here in Boston are overflowing with corn right now. The ears seem smaller than usual and it isn't as sweet as some years past. But it's still very tasty. Almost all of it is the "butter and sugar" corn that grows well around here.


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"Butter and sugar" corn. "Peaches and cream" corn. Are those regional names for what we in this region call candy corn? It's very sweet and the kernels on any given ear are a mix of yellow and white.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We live in southeast Michigan, all of which is now considered to be suffering from a sever drought. We have not yet gone to our local produce stand that has local corn (local as in the field is across the street from the stand), but the corn fields we have driven past all look to be in really rough shape. Yes, those fields are not sweet corn, but unless the fields are being irrigated, the corn crop will probably be a bust this year.

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I've purchased corn four times this season. Twice, it was very good. Once, it was excellent. And then there was that time, around a week ago, that it was god awful. I knew it wouldn't be great, but I was desperate and didn't have time to drive to another market. I was so bummed. It ruined the whole meal. I can't erase the memory of that bad corn -- chewy, puckered -- just vile. If I see some great looking corn again, and I'm sure I will at least once (Wegmans is good for such things), I will buy enough to make chowder. I tend to buy four ears at a time, for just the two of us, so it doesn't spoil before we can eat it all.

And then there is the corn I am attempting to grow. Seven of the twelve plants survived the varmints, and three of those seven, thus far, have some small ears growing on them. It's the one hybrid plant in my garden. I figured if hybrid corn is good enough for the farmers around here (and corn grows EVERYWHERE in my area of Pennsylvania), it's good enough for me.

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