Virginia sweet corn is rolling in
Sweet corn harvest is well underway in Virginia, and farmers across the state are supplying consumers with the summer favorite.
“Sweet corn is grown throughout Virginia and is a staple product for vegetable growers and farmers’ markets during the summer. Depending on your location in the commonwealth, fresh local sweet corn may be available between mid-June and mid-October,” noted Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
In Virginia Beach, Robert Vaughan of Vaughan Farms Produce grows mainly super-sweet white corn varieties such as Avalon and Milky Way, which he sells wholesale and at his roadside farm stand.
“It’s one of the best years we’ve ever had for sweet corn,” Vaughan said. “We’ve had a lot of rain this year in perfect timing, so we are picking extremely well. We’ll probably have corn until the end of August.”
The recent hot, dry weather has taken its toll on sweet corn production at Gallmeyer Farms in Henrico County. White and bicolor varieties are still available at the farm’s market, but overall production has been affected.
“The weather has caused me to cut back on wholesale sales, but we still have it available at The Veggie Stand for our regular customers,” noted Steve Gallmeyer, an owner and operator of the family farm and market. “We do have a limited amount of the crop irrigated. I will make 14 plantings this year, 10-14 days apart” so as to have corn available through the end of October.
Despite recent daytime temperatures of 90 degrees or higher, Sunnyside Farms in Cumberland County is producing a steady supply of sweet corn.
“Our sweet corn crop has been yielding extremely well. We do irrigate, so the dry spell hasn’t hurt us as bad as some,” explained Rob French, who owns Sunnyside with his family.
The French family sells most of the sweet corn they produce at their two farm stands in Cumberland and Powhatan counties.
“We plant a new set of corn every week so that we always have a fresh supply,” French noted. “My father, Hugh, prides himself on the taste and quality of our sweet corn. He makes sure it’s harvested at daybreak when it’s cool and the sugar content is still high.”