Sweet Corn Season is Wonderfully Here
Aw, shucks! It’s sweet corn season! (Which leads into cider mill preseason, which leads into autumn). Some of the best sweet corn to be found is straight from the producer, fresh off the stalk.
But have you ever wondered about the origins of the golden ears of corn that grace our summer tables or why corn has weaved its way into the fabric of our everyday lingo? Today, corn is so integral to our lives that it's virtually corn-ubiquitous in our vocabulary. Cornhole, corndog, cornstarch, corn maze, cornbread, and even unicorn are just a few examples of how corn has seeped into our language, not to mention the unfortunate corn on the toe.
We've been in a love affair with corn for over 10,000 years. Long before Michigan's Great Lakes were filled with water, when glaciers still covered its landscape, early Latin Americans were mastering the art of corn cultivation. Fast-forward to today and both corn and Michigan have come a long way.
The humble corn, or maize as it was initially known, began as a wild grass called teosinte, its tiny kernels clinging to tough, branch-like cobs. Our ancestors, through generations of selective breeding, coaxed this grass into yielding bigger, juicier kernels. The result? The mouth-watering sweet corn we adore today, a delicious mutation that amplifies the sugar content in the kernels, and one that became wildly popular in 18th century North America.
But let's talk about the real deal, the sweet corn that turns a summer meal into a celebration. Eating sweet corn is an experience that tantalizes all our senses. The sight of the golden kernels nestled on the cob, the sweet, earthy aroma wafting from the cooked ears, and the delightful pop and crunch as you bite into them – it's a feast of textures and flavors. The sweetness is pure and fresh, underscored by an earthy richness. Every kernel bursts with a delightful combination of crunch and creaminess that lingers on your palate, making you reach for another bite. It's no wonder we're all corn-addicted.
Just as apples and orchards symbolize fall, sweet corn is the quintessence of summer. Local farmers' markets and roadside stands are brimming with it.
Here are a few stops that are popular with folks on social media. Maybe you’d like to set aside time and take a tour of these corn havens. Enjoy the sweet taste of history and tradition packed into each corn kernel. After all, it's not just about eating; it's about savoring a time-honored summer tradition. I’m sure it will be (groan) amaizing.
Of course, our local farmers markets will be brimming with sweet corn and a cornucopia of other seasonal produce.
Chelsea Farmers Market: Sat. 8-1 pm Palmer Commons, Wed. 1-5 pm, corner of Old US-12 & Main St
Dexter Farmers Market: Sat. 8-1 pm, Tue. 11-3 pm, Alpine St.
Saline Farmers Market: Sat. 8-12 pm, 100 S. Ann Arbor St.
But if you’re in the mood for a drive through the bucolic hinterlands beyond our city limits, you may want to keep your eyes open for these farm stands and others.
Luick Dr, just off Old US12, is a popular spot for many folks
Fusilier Farms on M-52 across from the Proving Grounds
Jacob's Fresh Farm will have sweet corn around July 30 at their stand at 475 N Fletcher.
Ruhlig’s Produce opens July 28 at 11296 Island Lake Rd.
Corn & More at Tippin’s Party Store, corner of Pleasant Lake and Ann Arbor-Saline.
Weisenrider Farms produce stand at the corner of Ann Arbor–Saline and Bennett. They also have a stand at the Farm Council Grounds.
And many more.
Have fun shucking!
Photos by Doug Marrin