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Around The Grange
CT corn growers report record-early harvest
 

By Connecticut Plus (6/22/10)

  JUNE 26, 2010 --

Unseasonably warm weather this spring and well-timed rainfalls are among the contributing factors to what Connecticut's sweet corn growers are calling a record-early harvest.

"It's the earliest we've ever picked corn," said Tom Baggott of Baggott Family Farms (www.baggottfarms.net) in East Windsor, who began picking on Saturday, June 19th. "Even using a combination of plastic and row cover, which helps the plants grow and produce ears faster, we've never picked before the last week in June."

Tom's daughter-in-law, Erin Windham, brought some of the early harvest to the Coventry Farmers' Market, where she also sells specialty cut flowers and a wide array of produce that she and her husband grow at Windham Gardens (www.windhamgardensonline.com) in Granby.

"Customers were very surprised and thrilled to see corn this early in the season," Erin remarked.

The 105 dozen ears she brought to the market sold out in two hours. This week Erin also will be bringing corn to the Madison, Simsbury, and Whole Foods West Hartford farmers' markets, and expects customers there to be just as excited as those in Coventry were on Sunday.

"To many of them, it signifies the beginning of summer vegetables." she added.

Several farms in the state specialize in extra-early corn production and those who have not yet begun picking plan to start this week, still at least seven to 10 days earlier than most seasons. In addition to selling at their own stands and at farmers' markets, they will wholesale to area farmers who use traditional growing methods and will not begin picking until early July. By Independence Day, CT Grown sweet corn should be plentiful for holiday picnics and barbeques.

"Personally, I like it best grilled with the husk on," said Erin. "After it comes off the fire, I peel it and add a touch of butter and salt. It's easy and scrumptious."

According to Agriculture Commissioner F. Philip Prelli, other CT Grown crops are also ripening early this season, thanks to cooperation from Mother Nature.

"It appears to be a record-early season for peaches, too. This is the first year anyone can remember picking them in June. Strawberries came in two weeks ahead of normal and are almost gone. But berry lovers shouldn't despair because blueberries and raspberries also are early, and are already making their way to farmers' market and farm stands," he said. "So far, it has been a remarkable season in many ways. If we are spared an early frost this fall, it could be one of the longest harvest seasons we've ever enjoyed in the state."

To help consumers find their favorite CT Grown products, the CT Department of Agriculture offers many online listings, including farmers' markets and farm stands and stores, at www.CTGrown.gov. Click on "Publications" at the left of the page for a complete list of titles.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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