Corn off the cob -- in the field

August 27, 2010 3:54:33 AM PDT
Sweet corn is ripe for the picking at local farms, and one farmer says his is the sweetest around.It's been the perfect summer for growing corn with plenty of hot sun and lots of cool rain. At Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, Illinois, they are very proud of their sweet corn, Mirai.

"It's the, it's the flat out best sweet corn in the world," said Gary Pack, Twin Garden Farms.

Of course Gary Pack thinks that He grows the stuff. But he's not alone in his opinion. His farm will sell about 75,000 dozen ears of this sweetness on the cob to about 80 farmers markets around the Chicago area.

Corn like this doesn't just happen. It takes farmers and scientists years to come up with this product. And when the magic moment finally occurs it is so sweet you can eat it right off the cob, right in the field.

They say the secret is in the seeds developed on the farm in 1994. Traditional farming methods worked with modern science.

"It's the combination of all three sweet corn genes," said Pack. "SE for tenderness, SE 2 for sweetness and SU for old fashioned corn flavor. Which makes Mirai over the top."

But when you're going to eat sweet corn you're not thinking about genes. You're thinking taste and a tenderness so rare it demands hand picking.

"Because this corn is so tender and so sweet and has so much juice in it that if ... you pick it with a machine you would damage a lot of the kernels. I can just demonstrate that by picking it up here and then see how it just pops," said Cliff Ingersoll, Twin Garden Farms.

in Japan, Mirai corn makes up 30-percent of the market and it's growing in popularity in America. If you boil it, the limit is three minutes.

"No salt," said Vicki Shultz. "No butter. No ... just corn."

The word mirai is Japanese for "taste of the future" even though the corn is ripe for the picking in Harvard.


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