Country Gentlemen Corn
Country Gentleman is an heirloom variety developed and introduced to the American market in 1890 by S.D. Woodruff & Sons. Its milky white kernels are tightly and unevenly packed in zigzag-like patterns referred to as shoepegs. Picked young, this corn is deliciously sweet.
Corn belongs to the Poaceae family of plants known as grasses, which includes many cereal crops such as maize, wheat, rice, barley, oats and millet (other relatives include bamboo, lemongrass, sugarcane and rye). Archaeological evidence shows that corn has been cultivated for some 7000 years – its genetic lineage can be traced back to Central America and Mexico from a selection of wild grasses called teosintes, and it is thought that naturally occurring mutations, together with human selection of certain species, transformed these into the cultivated plant we know today. Plant corn in groups or blocks rather than single rows; being wind-pollinated, this will aid better pollination. Corn prefers full sun and needs a nutrient-rich, loamy soil to grow well. In cooler climates, corn seeds should be planted once the soil is beginning to warm and there is no danger of frosts. From seed to harvest will be about 90 days.
Corn is a majestic plant to watch grow from the initial shoot to its towering 2.4m height. Watching its tassels sway in the wind and knowing that pollination is underway give me a sense of anticipation. The joy of picking a ripe cob in the height of summer and peeling back its husk to expose the milky white jewels makes the wait worthwhile.