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Good Crops, Bad Crops, Your Choices

March 2, 2012

We in America are spoiled. We have an entire aisle at most grocery stores for cookies and crackers. Another aisle for condiments, from BBQ sauce to mustards to mayo and a host of other tastes, prepared for us to squeeze onto our favorite sandwiches or dishes. There is yet another aisle typically devoted to breakfast foods, and a wide selection of breads.

We have a whole department of produce, and a vast array of meats and cheeses. Then many have a deli department, and several aisles of frozen foods. Our food choices seem endless, and yet what you see at the grocery store pales in comparison to the choices that aren’t in the grocery store.

Farmers grow what there is a demand for. We focus on heirloom varieties, available for food choices, but if people don’t wish to buy it then we have no market. The same is true on a larger scale for farmers with expensive combines, who run dawn until after dark with high tech machinery to get the crop in and again to harvest it. Your food choices give us farm choices.

So a recent conversation about the “evils” of corn I couldn’t help but point out corn can be a good snack or livestock feed or many other uses, but it’s different types of corn. Modern production means we have varieties for popcorn, sweet corn, field corn, as well as the colorful “Indian corn”.

I was informed that no farmers grow popcorn. I don’t know how many people believe that, but yes we do. *We* do…and some grow on a much larger scale. A short video clip from last year:

This is Japanese Hull-less, a white popcorn that is considered an heirloom. There are many other varieties of popcorn as well. I also have, sitting here on my desk, a pound of Reid’s yellow dent corn, a field corn we grew years ago that kept our cattle fed. I purchased a small amount hoping to begin raising some not only to feed our animals, but to save seed and expand for next year. Corn takes space, and the different varieties need to be separated. We have sweet corn planted in the back, with some older seed of two types – Silver Queen and a bicolor.

Now corn as a plant looks pretty much alike, no matter what kind it is, until you open that ear and look. The size of ear can vary, from “strawberry popcorn” of a few inches to large, well filled ears desired for feed production.

Field corn can be harvested as just corn, or the entire plant chopped for silage to feed ruminants – cattle and sheep for example.This is typically bright yellow kernels.


The above is another type of corn. Sweet corn is specially developed for a sweet summer taste for seasonal eaters, although it can be sweetened or is processed by canning, either commercially  or by home processors.

This is just one crop of hundreds! The choices are vast. It’s why when we offer choice, it’s literally “what do you want?” It’s why we’re passionate about showing the different types of choices and options.

But no matter what we do we cannot force someone to choose, any more than any other operation can force you to choose their products. The apathy, increasing regulations and other factors may reduce choices, but there are still choices.

Whatever your choices are, CHOOSE! It insures we all have them.

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