I stopped at a local farm stand on my way home today and bought a basket of ripe tomatoes and four ears of fresh picked sweet corn for less that five dollars. The stand, by the side of the road is a temporary affair with a price list on a chalk board. It is run on the honor system. You select what you want and put your money into a big locked cashbox chained to the table. The system works fine-- no staff, no overhead, no food miles, and no tax. Just fresh local produce straight from the farm to you. It is one of the joys of summer in my part of the world.
I can hardly wait for dinner tonight. I've written elsewhere about my love for Jersey tomatoes. This post is about corn. The amber waves of grain are ripe in the field and I intend to gorge myself on the local product until the season is over. For those of you who are not American or Canadian, this probably makes no sense. What we call corn is what you call maize and you feed it to animals not people. You probably can't imagine people swooning over maize.
That's because you only grow what we call "field corn" which is animal fodder. Sweet corn is a whole different thing-- as American as apple pie and an icon of summer. Shuck it and boil it for less than ten minutes, drown it in butter, salt and pepper it lightly, hold it with your fingers and eat it right off the cob. Or better yet, grill it in the husk over charcoal, peel off the husks( watch your fingers. It's hot) and chomp away. The kernels are soft, sweet and bursting with flavor. It is possible to cut sweet corn off the cob and eat it with a fork from a plate-- but it is not nearly as much fun and somehow the corn never tastes quite as good.
Tonight I'm going to fire up the Weber barbeque kettle , grill some free range chicken breasts( also from a local farm) slice up a couple of those Jersey tomatoes and cook up that sweet corn before it loses it's flavor. It has to be eaten the day it is picked or it just isn't the same. Feel free to stop by if you are in the neighborhood. I've got enough sweet corn for everybody:-)