Once a year we celebrate Corn Day on the farm. It’s the day we have to dedicate to harvesting and putting away our sweet corn.
Corn Day for us is usually in mid-July. But the crows destroyed my first planting this year so I plowed it up and replanted a month later. After the crows attacked again, I resigned myself to no sweet corn this year. But we managed to keep the crows mostly away, the garden rallied and we ended up with a reasonable amount of sweet corn and Corn Day occured after all, this time in mid-August.
Knowing when to harvest the corn requires paying attention to your crop. When the tassels turn brown and the ears start to feel full, it’s time to check. I peel back a the shucks on a few ears and puncture a kernel with my thumb nail. As someone told me once, it’s ready if it “spits in your eye.” Put differently, if the kernel punctures easily and sprays out it’s milky goodness.
But many folks like to answer the question, “When should you pick your sweet corn?” with “Before the raccoons do.”
So a few days ago when I discovered the coons had been eating the corn, I realized it was time. I confirmed by having some spit in my eye and the next day we picked it.
I have to coordinate with Cherie since as I shuck it and cut off the ends, she is blanching it and preparing it for freezing.
We harvested on Friday and I took what we didn’t need for ourselves to the market on Saturday. Because we grow our sweet corn organically, there is an ear worm in nearly every ear. I was careful to tell everyone who bought corn from us that they could be sure to find a worm in the ear. To my surprise and delight no one was put off by that. As one woman told me, “If there isn’t a worm in it, you shouldn’t eat it.” Another person asked if I charged extra for the worm. Several laughed and said something like “that little worm won’t bother me.”
Behind me a chemical farm was selling sweet corn. Like everything else they sell, it was pristine and unblemished. Sure it had poison on it, but there were no worms. It felt good to sell out before they did.
Normally on Corn Day we take every ear in the field. But this year because we had to replant several times, it didn’t all come in at once. So we left plenty for later picking and I put up a fence to try and deter the coons.
Rowan, Juliette (and her kids) enjoying the shucks
So after a rocky start, we’ll be enjoying delicious Silver Queen sweet corn this winter after all.