Sweet Corn Growing Methods

Producing, Selling & Roasting

High quality, fresh sweet corn is our mission. We do this by utilizing the following.

The VarietiesSuper Sweets – We have chosen to raise super sweet varieties for they have two sugar genes. These two sugar genes make for a sweeter tasting corn and sweet corn that will remain sweet and tasty for 5-7 days if kept refrigerated.

Row Count The higher the row count the smaller the kernel and as a rule the more tender the corn and more on the cob. Our varieties have 14-16 row count.

PlantingWe start planting in early April and plant every week to 10 days with our last planting going in early July. This way we have new plantings to pick weekly up to October if there is no hard frost.

Early CornWe aim to have the earliest local sweet corn. We do this by utilizing these three things

  • Site – We plant our early corn on gravely ground that has a southern slope. This type of ground warms up the fastest. Soil temperature must be at least 55° F so the seeds will germinate.
  • Row Cover – We completely cover about two acres of corn with floating row cover. This porous fabric creates a green house effect. The daytime temperature under the row cover is 8-10° F warmer. Using row cover allows us to raise a higher quality sweet corn. (We do not use the strictly early varieties for they lack eating quality.) As a rule, row cover will give us our corn a week to 10 days earlier than comparable bare ground sweet corn.

Super Sweet Corn All of our sweet corn is of this new hybrid. Conventional breeding techniques have provided true sweet corn flavor and tenderness with unbelievable sweetness and fantastic holding qualities both on and off the stalk. Moisture is also retained longer on this type of corn, and its long shelf life is remarkable. Plus the new paracarpal is tasty and tender. (The paracarpal is the skin around the kernal.)

What this means to you:

  • A sweeter corn
  • A more tasty corn
  • A more tender corn
  • A sweet corn that will remain tasty up to 5-7 days if it is kept in a refrigerator

I.P.M.- Integrated Pest Management This is a national effort to encourage growers to use fewer pesticides and still produce a quality crop.

ScoutingThis is the key to I.P.M. As farmers, we are trained by Cornell University entomologists, in how to scout- to look for insects and then determine if their numbers are threatening to the crop.

TrapsAs part of scouting, traps are used. These traps baited with phermone lures that attract the male corn bore moth. These traps are monitored every few days where corn begins to tassel. When the moth catches get to be high (they can get into the hundreds), we then know we have two or three days to get the pesticide on the corn to kill the moth and the larvae to prevent worms in the corn.

Corn Borer & Earworms are the two most troublesome insects

  • Corn Borer – This larvae about an inch long is the one that usually makes holes in the side of the ear. This insect is a real challenge to us in our early sweet corn. It usually subsides about the first of August.
  • Ear Worms – This larvae can get a little larger than an inch and is the one found in the tip of the ear. As a rule, the earworm is troublesome in our area in the late August and September.Trap catches the male moth and lets us know when we need to apply a pesticide.

    The earworm is the same worm that is called the boll weevil in the south – the curse of cotton plants. It rides wind currents up the East Coast to get to us.

    Some years, a lot come – some years none at all. With a lot of storm pressure we sometimes have to apply pesticides weekly to control the earworm.

    In keeping with our goal to use fewer pesticides, and to use less harsh pesticides, we continually cooperate with Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension. One way we do this is to allow our farm to be used to carry out field trials.

Less Harsh Pesticides We continually monitor research results looking for less harsh pesticides that kill the target pest, yet are kind to beneficials and put less stress on the environment

Keeping Corn Fresh on the Farm We pick early in the morning- the fields are cool and the dew is on the corn and there is less field heat. Corn that is not sent directly to market is put in the cooler to be kept cool – to remove the remaining field heat.

Corn RoastingWe presently have 4 corn roasters – each of these roasters can roast up to 500 ears per hour. Last year our four roasters roasted over 100,000 ears of corn at the festivals, picnics, and special events.

Look for one of our roasters to try an ear of roasted super sweet-sweet corn at its very best.

 

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