Small specialty corn variety hits East Coast

08/26/2010 10:54:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A seed company is trying to increase production and demand for a small-sized specialty sweet corn variety to East Coast growers and consumers.


Courtesy Harris Seeds

A group of New York growers are growing a small-sized specialty corn that they are promoting for its flavor and size.


A half-dozen Rochester, N.Y., area growers are selling “Mr. Mini Mirai,” specialty corn, which grows to about six inches. California and Colorado growers are also selling the corn to grocery stores.

Doug Mason, owner of Mason Farms, Williamson, N.Y., has been growing the larger “Mirai Gour-Maize” variety for 20 years. He sells the smaller variety along and other vegetables to area Wegman's Food Markets.

Mason said the mini variety produces smaller ears, but larger kernels. New York harvesting started in early August and is expected to run through mid-October.

“This corn has excellent flavor and texture,” he said. “It holds its flavor for a long period of time.”

Richard Chamberlin, president of Harris Seeds, Rochester, said the seed company is promoting the corn which is being distributed to Rochester-area restaurants and country clubs.

“Retailers like this corn because it doesn’t overhang the plate,” Chamberlin said. “It’s true gourmet quality. It won’t take over the marketplace, but it has its place.”

Chamberlin estimates New York’s acreage, still in the test marketing stage, is around 10 acres.

Jack Moore, retail sales manager of Gro-Moore Farms, Henrietta, N.Y., sells the corn in 6- and 12-ear mesh bags to foodservice operators. Moore said he sells the corn for $6.99 for 12 ears compared to the $10-11 growers receive for five dozen bags of regular corn.

“We are trying to make it special and worth more money” he said. “Our customers are paying a premium for them.”



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