It’s sweet, it’s juicy, it’s crunchy and now, it’s in season.
It’s sweet corn.
In the past week, local farmers have set up roadside stands selling ears of sweet corn right beside the fields in which the ears were grown.
The Williams family on Petrolia Line opened their 48th sweet corn selling season on Tuesday, July 25, at their roadside stand neighbouring Lorne C. Henderson Conservation Area.
“It’s a tradition,” said Stacey Williams. “People say it’s a sign of summer.”
The Williams, who also farm soybeans, wheat, and field corn, grow eight acres of sweet corn to be sold exclusively at the roadside stand. Each cob is hand picked in the morning and goes straight from the field to the roadside.
This year, the William’s are growing six varieties of sweet corn which allows the farm to extend its corn selling season.
So far, business has been booming.
“We were sold out by four o’ clock,” Tim Williams said about Wednesday at the corn stand.
“We normally have it out by the road by 10 a.m.” he said.
The Williams guess the average day brings 100 to 150 people to the corn stand, but on weekends, that number can stretch upwards to 300.
Depending on the weather, the Williams expect to be selling corn for the next month.
“As long as it doesn’t get too dry, it should spread our season out for us,” said Tim Williams.
Meanwhile on the other side of Petrolia, the Bright family is entering their second sweet corn selling season on Oil Heritage Road just south of Rokeby Line.
The Brights started selling their “peaches and cream” bi-colour sweet corn last Friday, July 21, and have sold out more often than not.
It takes between two to three hours for the Brights to fill two, large, cardboard watermelon crates with handpicked corn from their five-acre sweet corn field.
Their roadside stands opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. Friday to Sunday. They can sell out in as fast as two hours.
“It’s been extremely busy,” said Stacy Bright.
If there is any downtime, the Bright’s corn sellers keep entertained watching the vehicles drive down Oil Heritage Road and snack of the fresh corn cobs if they get hungry.
“It’s the people, too. It’s nice talking to people,” said Chris Bright, who regularly helps her grandchildren with the roadside stand.
The Brights estimate they will be selling sweet corn until at least September.
The sweet corn business offers local youngsters the chance to keep busy and earn a little spending money. At both the Williams and the Brights, the young workers help pick the corn they later sell.
On top of their own three children, the Williams’ have five others helping with the sweet corn.
“There’s a lot of kids over the years who have picked corn at Williams’ farm,” said Tim Williams. “It gives them some spending money, too.”
“It keeps the kids busy,” said Stacy Bright. “It gives them a job to do.”
While sweet corn can be served boiled, barbecued, and microwaved, it can also be preserved in the freezer
“One thing that’s changed a lot is we used to have a lot of people that bought a lot of corn and cut it off the cob and froze it and we don’t see that as much,” said Tim Williams. “If people are interested in that, we have a couple late season varieties that are great for freezing and if people want to do that, we give a volume discount on that sort of thing.”
Chris Bright said she regularly freezes corn and saves it for the winter.
“When you bring it out in the wintertime, it taste just like off the cob,” she said.
Sweet corn season is now in full swing. Keep your eyes peeled for stacks of ears on a road near you.