Corn and Indiana go together like, well, Corn and Indiana…  It seems growing corn is a requisite part of having a garden here.

Sweet corn is a difficult crop for the organic market gardener.  It’s tough on the soil, requiring more nitrogen than is easy to provide organically (though it does supply a good deal of much needed carbon…).  It also requires a rather high amount of water, and takes up a lot of space for the amount of produce yielded.  And everyone has it at the same time, with little you can do to either rush or prolong the season by very much, so it commands a very low price.  All while being very finicky about when it’s harvested, and loosing much of its glory within the first half hour of harvest.  Financially speaking, it’s almost always a looser for farms of our size, and we have instead focused on flint corn for making corn meal.

On the other hand, there are few joys in this world greater than chomping down on a really good sweet corn right from the garden, or munching on a really good iron skillet cornbread with your chili on a cold winter’s evening.  Thus, though we’ve been reluctant in the past, we will be adding sweet corn to our offerings for the 2013 season.

Icon of Slow Food USARoy’s Calais Flint Corn

Roy’s, or Abenaki, Calais  is an heirloom flint corn grown by the Abenaki Indians in what would later become Vermont.  Most of the ears have golden kernels, but about 1/4 have a deep maroon colored kernels (it’s a double-recessive trait).  Interestingly, about 1/4 of the cobs are also maroon (with most being yellow), but there seems to be no correlation between cob color and kernel color.  The cobs and the “de-cobbed” kernels are gorgeous, with the kernels resembling jewels.

Flint corn is primarily used for making corn meal, and Roy’s Calais makes taste-award winning meal, while also being more nutritious and higher in protein than most.  It’s also often used hominy, though we haven’t tried that rather elaborate process.  Do let us know if you undertake the challenge!

Roy’s Calais is famous for surviving, and thriving, in extreme weather conditions.  It even survived the year without summer, eighteen hundred and froze to death (1816).  Nonetheless, the historic drought of 2012 lead to a crop failure with ours.  Given this is actually an endangered variety, and it took us 3 years to grow out enough from one packet of purchased seed to finally be able to plant an entire plot in this variety, we were heartbroken.  We’re not giving up, though!  It may take a while to build our seed stock back up to where we can offer it for sale again, but it’ll be back!

Serendipity Sweet Corn

A new variety for us this year.  Serendipity promises to have a full-bodied flavor and good balance between sweet and corn taste.  We’ve been a bit put off in the past couple of years with much of the corn that’s been available – it has tended to be too sweet, and with little actual flavor.  We hope this variety will offer the best of both worlds: sweet, but also with a full corn flavor.