Farm Focus: Just-Picked Corn for your BBQ!

Just-Picked Corn for your BBQ!

By Robbie Sigona

Pools, sunscreen, watermelon, barbecues, Gizdich pies, corn on the cob…all of these just scream summer! We’re lucky to live here on the Peninsula, where most of the foods we associate with summer are just being harvested and delivered – sometimes in the same day – just in time for your family BBQ.

One of my favorites is fresh-picked corn. How can you say no to a steaming ear of corn with melted butter and dashes of salt and pepper? How about a fresh corn salsa to pile on top of a perfectly grilled and seasoned flank steak?

We’re making it easier than ever to enjoy just-picked local corn this week by offering a free tote bag full of white corn from growers Dixon, Brentwood and Spina Family Farms in Morgan Hill, Calif. for free with a purchase of $30 or more! Grill it, boil it, braise it, cream it, slice it off the cob…there are endless ways to enjoy fresh corn!

It’s best to eat corn the same day it’s picked – that’s when it’s sweetest! Just as with asparagus, the sugars in corn begin to convert to starch once it’s harvested, so the sooner you eat it, the sweeter and more tender it’ll be. The corn we get from Brentwood is from Glenn Stonebarger of G&S Farms (Ghiggeri & Stonebarger). Glenn is a third-generation farmer with more than 200 acres of corn. G&S hand selects ears in the field and ships them as soon as possible after harvest; the corn we get from G&S is picked in the morning and delivered in the afternoon. The corn we get from Morgan Hill is from John Spina of Spina Farms, a family owned and operated farm we’ve partnered with for more than 35 years and three generations. Spina’s corn is picked in the very early morning and is delivered to our store by mid-morning. You can’t get it any fresher unless you pick it yourself.

Large pile of corn at Spina Farms in Morgan Hill.

In general, white corn is more tender and sweet than yellow corn, which has a more chewy texture and hardy corn flavor. My uncle, Carmelo, remembers when white corn was a rare find in markets; it wasn’t until the 1970s that the demand for white corn grew and farmers began planting more white than yellow. Until that time, yellow corn was the norm – Golden Bantam was popular in the 1950s and Golden Jubilee was the rage in the late 1960s.

Corn is a good source of many nutrients. As anyone who remembers their elementary history class knows, corn (better known then as maize) was one of the main staples of civilization in early America. It’s among the oldest and most versatile foods and it’s used for everything from summer BBQ fare to tortillas, chips, cereals and corn meal.

Corn is a good source of protein, potassium, fiber and good carbohydrates. It’s also a good source of vitamin C and B vitamins, such as Riboflavin, a B 2 that is important to energy metabolism (processing nutrients like carbohydrates to a form of energy that the body can use). A medium size ear of corn has about 80 calories and 1 gram of fat.

Click here for a few recipes featuring corn, and be sure to print out and bring in your coupon this week.

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