Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sentinel Column 7-11

Finally, we have sweet corn and loads of it. We have Bodacious, a yellow variety, and the bi-color Temptation. You’ll find corn at the Troyers, Wells, Palmers & Eichers on Tuesdays and Fridays and all the afore mentioned except the Eichers on Saturdays. In other words, we’ve got A LOT of corn.

Hannah Mehrens, our intern volunteer this summer, went with me on several farm visits this weekend and one of the highlights was the Wells cornfield. It’s hard to beat shucking an ear of corn and eating it right in the field. (That's Kristie Wells shucking my snack.) The early corn is so tender that it doesn’t even require cooking.

But cooking does have its fans and there are so many ways to cook corn - boil, steam, grill, roast or microwave, and then slather it with butter. That’s the time to add some salt. According to the Illinois Extension service, adding salt to the boiling water just makes the corn tougher, as does overcooking, so wait until the butter goes on.

The service also suggests squeezing on some lime juice or brushing the ear with olive oil and sprinkling on the following dried herb mix.

4 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme

The key to good corn is freshness and proper storage. The shorter the time between harvest and eating, the better it will be, and if the corn is kept cool or refrigerated during that time, so much the better. Don’t shuck the corn until right before cooking.

Back to Hannah. She’s volunteering at the Saturday market. She works during the week at Richardson’s Candy House while she pursues an associate degree in agriculture at Crowder College. Her passion is growing and using fresh produce and convincing others to do the same, which makes her a really good match for the market. We hope that she’ll share a little of that passion and do a few cooking demonstrations for us this summer.

Two other volunteers I need to acknowledge are Cody Vaughn and Duane Hunt. They’re driving the market cart for us so folks parking in the far lot have an easy way in and out. Tuesday and Friday have become so busy at opening that the cart is a real godsend, especially now that the corn is in. It’s one thing to enjoy a walk to the pavilion, but something entirely different to haul 3 dozen ears of corn that distance.

Friday’s lunch is chicken salad on a lettuce leaf, tomato and zucchini salad, corn, banana pudding and a drink for $6. Jack and Lee Ann Sours will play traditional music.

On Saturday morning, we’ll have a full breakfast from Hazel’s Bakery, as well as cooked-at-the market pizzas and stuffed mushrooms from Redings Mill Bakery. They’ll also have specialty sandwiches and, brand new for the Saturday market, pies! Blueberry and peach.

Saturday has been short on baked goods, but that time is past because in addition to the Bakery’s pies, our non-profit bake sales are kicking in this week. The Joplin Area Welcome Club will host the bake sale this Saturday.

The Loose Notes will play gospel and bluegrass this Saturday.