When ‘local corn’ isn’t

Allan Goddard, Almonte

Every summer I look so forward to tasting the sweet sensation of buttered, peppered, and slightly salted corn on the cob!  This usually occurs on or around July 17, 18, 19, or so, when the first local crops become edible. Sweet, tasty, pearl-like kernels — nothing like it.

More so this year than REALLY nothing like it. Because local corn is not ready. No surprise, with the serious lack of rain, in the Eastern Ontario region especially. Made the national news. Anyone who knows corn could see it severely stunted and water-starved in the fields.

BUT…. corn on the cob is for sale — on the roadside stands — and people buy it. It is sugarless, the kernels are tight together, looking rectangular, the tassels are way brown and shrivelled, the husks are dry, browning, and pale,  the stalk severance points are shrunken, and when cooked, it sticks to your teeth and is often chewy. No sugar of the sweet corn we like. The sugar has gone to starch, which happens on older, very mature corn. Not fresh. Not local.

But at the 3 stands I tried, unsuccessfully, the attendants very confidently tell the consumer its local corn!

How stupid do they think we are ??  Why must the owners instruct the vendors to lie through the teeth just to make an extra buck? Yes, it’s too bad the season has affected agricultural growers this season, but is that a legitimate sales approach?  I guess so.

One of the major networks showed a programme on the shady sales tactics and produce from local growers in the Ottawa area a couple of years back. And so it continues.

I know a local Almonte area grower that produces excellent corn on the cob. It’s not out yet. Maybe soon, with the recent rains.  Too bad we have to be led down the garden path by the others importing corn from more southerly regions, telling us all along it’s local corn.

For now, popcorn will suffice!