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Sweet Corn in October?

Submitted by on October 19, 2009 – 8:02 pmNo Comment

mirai corn 2By Susan McKee
The Road Trips Foodie

As a third-generation midwesterner, I thought I knew everything about corn. No, not the feed corn that animals eat, but the sweet corn sold by the ear to us city-slickers hankering for a fresh taste. I learned always to buy it directly from the grower, and preferably on the same day that it was picked. Although it’s best to eat it the same day it’s picked, I’ve learned that I can keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two without too much loss in quality.

Then I journeyed to McHenry County, Illinois, and discovered Mirai Sweet Corn. Note: it’s the middle of October, and I just enjoyed some of the best sweet corn I’ve ever tasted. I bought six ears (the last of the crop, since northern Illinois had a hard freeze a week ago, following a frost, and the harvest is over). They sat in the trunk of my car for a couple of days, and when I got home, they went into the refrigerator for two more days. Following directions, I heated a large pot of water to the boil and plunged in the husked ears for just 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. The corn was superb.

The corn is TGF Mirai®, a sweet corn hybrid developed at Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, Illinois. Founded in 1954 by George and Ruth Ahrens, the farm is currently managed by 3rd and 4th generation family members. They claim it’s the “finest quality hybrid of sweet corn available in the world”, sweet enough to eat without cooking. In fact, that’s how I first had it. The roadside market had some samples of the raw corn — they chopped fresh cobs into one-inch rounds — and I tasted it. Then I bought a bag of six ears to bring home.

Unfortunately for all of you Road Trips Foodies, there’s no more Mirai sweet corn available until next season. Check the website for farmers’ market locations throughout northern Illinois. It’ll also be available at Twin Garden Farms’ roadside stand, 23017 Route 173, Harvard, Illinois.

Photos by Susan McKee

Photo by Susan McKee

Here’s a recipe from the Twin Garden Farms website:

Marni’s Corn Relish Salad

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups cooked Mirai sweet corn, cut off the cob
8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. salt

Stir together all ingredients in large bowl. Cover, refrigerate at least four hours, or overnight. Stir before serving.

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