Summertime brings the promise of fresh sweet corn to farmers markets and grocery stores. A trip to the N.C. State Farmers Market in Raleigh will likely feature several pickup trucks filled with just-picked corn in many delicious varieties and whether you prefer Sweet, Yellow, Sweet White Devotion or Silver Queen the farmers market is likely to have it.
I spoke with an employee with Langdon Farms in Dunn, about how farmers know when corn is ready to be picked? “You can tell it is ready by how tough it feels. You can also tell by how big the kernels are and if the ears have filled out.” She showed me on a stalk of corn how the ears were filled out and let me feel the firmness of the corn. Another way to tell if corn is ready to be picked is when the silks dry up.
So how can shoppers be sure to pick the right ear of corn at the grocery store? She explained that most people think that if the corn looks dry that it’s going to taste dry, but that is not true because there is a silk lining inside the husk that keeps the moisture inside.
When shopping for corn, look to see if the ears are rounded/or blunted rather than pointy. Shoppers should feel the corn for firmness and look at the color of the kernels. If they are creamy yellow or white, then the corn is good. Whether you’re having corn at dinner or grilling, make a trip to your local farmers market this summer to pick it up fresh from the field.
Mostly all the corn grown in N.C is used in animal feeds. In 2017, there was 890,000 acres of corn planted for grain.
There is no single ideal location to grow corn. The biggest factor to pay attention to is the moisture and weather temperatures in the area you are growing corn. Corn season typically starts in April to late August and early September.
Corn requires moderate temperature, moisture and sun to grow. Farmers who plan to have corn from August to September, should plant in April, early May. It takes about 185 days before corn is ready to be harvested.
To figure out how sweet the corn is depending on the temperature. Corn makes the most sugar on cool sunny days. Early fall is the perfect time to produce the sweetest corn.