Harvard's Twin Garden Farms claims it breeds sweetest variety of sweet corn

August 13, 2013 3:40:13 PM PDT
It's that time of year again for the annual sweet corn debate: whose corn is the sweetest? Well, ABC7's Frank Mathie has his opinion and says the answer is in Harvard, Illinois.

It's guaranteed because their Mirai corn, as it's called, is now sold around the world in seed form. Here you might have seen it in at your local farmers market. It's the corn in the green mesh bag.

It was an accident of sweet corn genetics back in 1994. That's when a corn breeder for twin farm gardens in Harvard, Illinois somehow got all three sweet corn genes into each kernel.

"The breeder brought the ear of corn into the office and said here, you have got to try this. And Grandpa tried it and said, "Wow!". . . And it's the wow moment, and from there we said we have got something and we have to do something with this and that's where it took off," said Gary Pack, co-owner, Twin Garden Farms.

That "wow" moment, after 19 years, has now turned into six million ears of this corn every harvest. And so far, no one else has hit upon their magic seed formula. And this seed, by the way, is the only way you can grow the Mirai corn.

Corn as you probably know is nothing new. It goes back unknown thousands of years to mexico. But sweet corn, that's another story.

"Sweet corn is the result of a recessive gene from field corn. It's a mutation. The Indians, the Native Americans, l found it in the mid-1700s," said Cliff Ingersoll, production manager, Twin Gardens Farms.

ABC7's Frank Mathie asks: "And it's just been getting better, and better and better?"

"Yeah, around the 1900s, we started making hybrids," said Ingersoll.

One more little corn tidbit: every ear of corn has an even number of rows. 12, 14, 16. Always even.


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