Is It Corn Yet?

July 31, 2008

I consider myself an expert on corn. No pun intended — I mean corn, the crop.

For example, I know it should be knee-high by the 4th of July. I look to see how it’s doing when I drive around Indiana, nice and green or too brown. I know it needs to be detasseled and that kids and teens often do that as a summer job. I even found out, finally, what a combine is–a combination harvester and thresher (thanks to Richard Rhodes’ book Farm: a Year in the Life of an American Farmer).

My late mother loved to tell a story from her visit to Iowa when I lived there in the 1970s. As we drove along the country highway, she asked me to stop and get some corn for dinner, to which I replied disdainfully, “That’s field corn. You can’t eat it.” I don’t know why she thought that was so hilarious. To me, it was just something you know if you know corn, the way you know that local home-grown corn isn’t ready before August.

This has been an stressful year for corn. Thanks to the ethanol craze, corn prices doubled and farmers planted more to meet the demand. Sadly, floods in the Midwest devastated many potentially lucrative fields.

I will continue to keep an eye on the corn as I drive around this summer. As a Hoosier, I consider it part of my job.

This entry was posted by: Nancy


  1. One of the sad things about moving to Seattle is that the corn here is terrible. It’s really noticeable after all those years in Indiana.

    By contrast, coming back to Indiana, we discovered that apples in Indiana are just as bad. But the strange thing to me is going to the grocery store and finding out that the apples are all being shipped from New Zealand. I’m not necessarily a die-hard buy-local kind of girl, but… I live in Washington State! Why do I need New Zealand apples?

  2. I moved to San Diego briefly after I graduated Ball State and I found the corn in SoCal to be the worst substance I’d ever put in my mouth. It tasted exactly like eating dirt–awful awful dirt.

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