Do you grow your own corn? I’ve never had much luck. I’ve tried sweet corn and the jeweled popping varieties, but never have I been able to grow even one cob I could eat. I know I’m not alone in this, as most of my backyard gardening friends claim the same. The more corn you can grow, the better corn you’ll get, and my plot for corn just isn’t that big.
Unfortunately, the sweetest corn is the one that comes right off the stalk. If you’re a real corn grower, you know that, though if we’re being honest, some of the supermarket stuff isn’t that bad in a pinch.
But in today’s funny gardening humor story, Picking Corn, the author’s dad would disagree. I mean, I’ve never met a guy who walked into someone else’s corn field to get corn fresher than what was in his market, but to each his own! In today’s piece, you’ll get a chuckle out of a gardener who has left his corn field, but who still won’t settle for an hour-old cob of corn.
Gardening Humor For Anyone Who Grows Corn
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject gardening humor into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
My dad wanted it fresh. Very fresh.
By Harvey Silverman
One of the things I miss most about my dad is his wonderful and slightly quirky sense of humor. I often think of my dad when I eat sweet corn.
You see, Dad enjoyed sweet corn, but he insisted it be fresh. Given the opportunity, he would happily explain that as soon as the corn was picked the sugar in the kernels began to be converted to starch and that this conversion continued until the corn was cooked and the enzyme responsible for the conversion deactivated. (This is less true of many varieties today.)
When I was a boy, we had a small vegetable garden in the backyard. We grew all the usual things–radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and the like. We also grew sweet corn.
We normally picked our vegetables and gave them to my mom to prepare for dinner–but not with sweet corn. When it was time to get some sweet corn, my dad would first place a large pot of water on the stove and heat it to boiling. Then he and I would go out to the garden, pick and peel the corn, and head straight back into the kitchen to place it in the boiling water so that it was cooked as fresh as possible.
After I grew up, my folks moved to a new home where they had no garden. My dad still enjoyed sweet corn, so he bought it at a local farm stand where it would be fresher than in the grocery store.
One afternoon on the way home from work, he stopped at the local farm stand and asked for fresh sweet corn.
“I have some right here. It was just picked this morning,” said the farmer.
“This morning?” Dad said. “Have anything fresher?”
“Well, I have some here that I haven’t put out yet. You can have some of that. It was just picked an hour ago.”
“An hour ago? Don’t you have anything fresher?”
By then the farmer was becoming just a bit annoyed with my dad. He took him out into the field just behind his farm stand. He picked some corn, handed it to my dad and said, “Okay, is this fresh enough for you?”
My dad looked at him, paused, and said, “I don’t know. You’re picking kind of slow.” ❖
By Harvey Silverman, published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #102. Illustrations by Hannah England.
Do you grow your own corn, or have you in the past? What do you think: was this former farmer spot-on, or is hour-old corn fine enough?
I always cook the corn I get from the Farm Stand (picked the same morning) that same day and it seems to be the BEST! Love the humor here, but I think he’s on to something!
My husband, Harold, was the enthusiastic sweet corn grower in our family. Our large country garden provided sweet corn for all our kith and kin. Every year Harold ordered a special collection of four different varieties of sweet corn that matured sequentially so that there was corn ready to eat from mid-summer until the last variety stopped yielding in early autumn. Yes, fresher is better but today’s super sweet corn varieties are a tasty improvement over the old. Friends and family all miss the wonderful sweet corn from Harold’s country garden now that we are domiciled once more in the city and sadly, have no room for growing corn.