One of my favorite parts of summer (besides the Fourth of July) is the corn season. I just had three freshly picked, tender ears and I’m ready for more.
In Southeastern Pennsylvania where I was raised, we called them roastin’ ears. Ready near the end of June, a Fourth of July picnic wasn’t complete without roastin’ ears. For about two months, our season here usually starts near the end of July and lasts until the first frost.
Now before you think I’m talking through my captain’s hat because of reports that the local corn crop won’t be as plentiful as it had been in past years, let me say it’s all relative, folks. Sure, the spring planting soil, so heavily saturated from rains, made planting nearly impossible. But what may have been a bad growing season for corn, locally, 35 miles down the road the soil could have been perfect.
I know for a fact that Figaro Farms grows some of their corn in fields near Marietta where the season comes in a bit earlier than what it does here in Northeastern Ohio. It augments their local growing season. Because of the heavy local rains, this year they could very well depend on it.
I used to think that sweet corn grown in Pennsylvania was so tender and tasty, it could be used as a barometer by which all other corn was judged. But not any more. Since first moving to Ohio more than half a century ago, I swiftly came to the conclusion that no corn grown anywhere in these continental United States and parts of Canada could compare to that which is grown here in the Buckeye state.
With all due respect, I blame that bias mostly on my wonderful late mother-in-law, May Jolly. She was the one who introduced me to Szalay’s corn on River Road down in the Cuyahoga valley and got me hooked. I still remember the first question I asked them. "Was this corn picked today?"
"We don’t sell day old corn, son," the man who handled the corn quickly answered with a bit of annoyance as if he thought I didn’t trust him to sell us freshly picked corn.
"And just what do you do with it," I promptly asked as if I suspected he might ferhoodle us. "Feed it to the cattle, the hogs, wildlife, use it for seed or just throw it out?" I asked half jokingly.
He shot me a look as if he wanted me to immediately leave, but instead responded just as swiftly. "We’ve never ended a day where we had corn left over."
Needless to say, I was convinced before I had my first bite. And then when I finally did bite into that first ear, it sealed the deal.
I used to favor the white Silver Queen but not anymore. Now I love the flavor of the bi-color corn; the Milk and Honey, Cream and Sugar or Bread and Butter. That’s just some of the names for yellow and white kernels; both on the same cob.
Ohio produces some of the sweetest, most tender, tastiest, completely filled rows of succulent corn on the cob that I have ever eaten. I’ve been told it’s all in the manure the farmers use. That it’s au natural. That there’s no chemicals and that it comes from Amish farms. But while I’m munching on those tasty kernels, I try not to dwell on that.
More importantly is, that we who live here in the northeastern part of the Buckeye state are privileged to have this tender, juicy, luscious vegetable as a local delicacy; grown so close that we are able to buy this summer delight only hours after it’s picked, assuring us of fresh, sweet tender morsels.
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