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“The Corn is as High as an Elephant’s Eye…” July 14, 2006

Posted by Laura in Uncategorized.
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(A line from one of my favorite musicals, Oklahoma.)

When J was up here with Becky back in April, he brought along some seed corn for his very favorite variety, Moses Prolific. We put in a few rows of that first thing. Moses Prolific is getting hard to find and “dent corn” as a whole is not generally used for on-the-cob eating anymore.

Corn rapidly loses its sugar (turning to starch) after it has been picked. As a result, growers began developing sweeter and sweeter corn so that by the time it was shipped to grocery stores, sat in the produce section, and was eventually purchased, it still retained some of its sugar.

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In the days before the supersweet varieties, a lot of folks ate field corn. It tends to grow taller, produce bigger ears, and sometimes, more ears per stalk. We have yet to taste our first ear, but J assures us it is wonderful.

After we ran out of the seed for the field corn, we put in some sweet corn called Golden Bantam. This is an old standby, an open-pollinated heritage variety.

We like to plant “heritage” seeds whenever we can for several reasons. First, you can save your own seed in most cases. (Chemical companies have been obtaining exclusive patent rights to seed in recent years and they sue aggressively if you save their seed from year to year. Many of the seeds are hybridized and a great number are also genetically modified, frequently called “Frankenfood.” The companies engineer the seed to have a weakness for a specific pest or disease so they can then sell you their chemicals to treat the problems).

Second, heritage seeds are tried and true- always delicious. Third, a lot of these wonderful old varieties are being lost as farmers give them up in search of more productive strains, so they can actually turn a profit farming.

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We’re doing our part to keep these old favorites from disappearing.

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