Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sweet Corn

There is nothing better than hot buttered fresh sweet corn from the garden or roadside stand. People around here can't wait to get their hands on some around the 4th of July.

It is rare we get any that early because how far north we are. Right after the 4th is usually when ours comes in.

We raised sweet corn on the farm as a family and ate well, froze as much as we could store and sold the rest. We lived on a state highway on the edge of town so we sold anything we could grow. Strawberries and sweet corn were always the top sellers.

I raised sweet corn while I taught agriculture and taught many others how to do it, too. When we bought this farm we had more and better ground for raising such crops.

The first year here I went overboard and planted 7 acres! I don't know what I was thinking and was wore out by August. I never raised so much in my life. I had so much we gave extra to Hope Emergency to feed local needy families and sold thousands of dozens on top of that.

Someone always asks for Silver Queen and after explaining how hold that thing is I just called my improved or Super Silver Queen. They liked it and bought the idea!

Here is a study in Alabama from 1996:

Panelists were asked to identify Silver Queen among the five corn samples they tasted. Thirty percent of the panelists properly identified Silver Queen, 58% could not identify it, and 12% did not give any answer. Since each panelist was presented five varieties, the odds of correctly choosing Silver Queen at random were 20%. Therefore, only a small fraction of the panel recognized Silver Queen.

Panelists also were asked to list all the sweet corn variety names they could remember. Of 67 responses, 34% did not name any sweet corn variety. The most commonly named varieties were Silver Queen (by 61% ofthe responding panelists), Golden Queen (10%), and Bantam (5%). These results illustrate the popularity of Silver Queen.

If you want a good white corn, plant Avalon. That is my favorite. If you want yellow corn, Vision is my favorite from Stoke's Seeds in Buffalo, NY. If you want a bi-color, plant Providence. These are all sturdy corns that taste great and grow well. There are probably 100 different varieties but these three make my top ten and I can recommend them to you.

Last year seed sold out with the boom in gardening and I imagine that will happen again this year unless they grew a lot of extra seed for the market.

What is your favorite sweet corn?

Ed Winkle

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