Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ode to Summer and Sweet Corn

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:-)

7 comments:

Flash said...

I'm sooo missing my garden now that I live in a dense urban setting.

JamaGenie said...

I sooooo need to visit the local farm stand here! Sweet corn and "homegrown" tomatoes - heavenly!

pinkpackrat said...

That corn is only a memory now-- but it was sooooooo goood:-)

Wendy R said...

Dear Pinkpackrat (got the name right this time..)
What an evocative post and a sharp, lovely picture. We do eat sweetcorn here in the UK. I have great memories of eating it with butter running down my chin. Yummy!
I shuddered when I saw the cavorting babies. What a cheap idea.
Thank you for calling by my post. I relished your comment.
wx

pinkpackrat said...

Hello Wendy. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Nice to see you and glad you like sweetcorn too:-) Aren't those babies eerie?

Frieda Babbley said...

Holy cow. I am now starving for fresh ripe tomatoes, sliced round and just thick enough to hold, lightly salted; and hot fresh corn on the cob, plain cause it's so sweet on its very own. I'm going ot go die now, because I have neither!!!!!! Darn you pink packrat! lol. The prices at these places are awesome. They can't be beat. And the quality! I really have a hard time getting food from groceries (including whole foods) after shopping at a fresh from the farm place. Ours a bit different, of course, but still, there's nothing sweeter than gathering your fruits and veggies in the fresh open air. I LOVE this post.

pinkpackrat said...

I love this time of year, when I can buy so much local produce right from the farmer:-)