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Corn Contest and Tomato Taste

Fresh corn PA v VA 049a

Corn and tomatoes are the quintessential summer vegetables.  These days, it’s possible to get fair produce of many kinds almost all year round,  but not so when it comes to these two summer favorites.  So we like to feast on them when they’re in season.

We usually go to at least two different farm stands for our produce. This weekend we got several different types of tomatoes — not just for the beautiful colors, but also because we wanted to do a taste test to compare the different varieties.  Margaret was given the taste of choosing which tomatoes would go into the salad and I think she did an excellent job.

Margaret w tomatoes 058a

Here’s the tomato salad at serving time, sprinkled with salad and fresh basil and drizzled with just a bit of olive oil.  Pure heaven.  All the tomatoes were quite good.  We expected to like the red one the best, but it turned out the blackish-maroon one had the most flavor!

tomatoes 3 kinds 051a

Now about the corn:  we bought two kinds of corn — one from each of the farm stands we frequent:  one group was grown in Virginia and the other group was grown in Pennsylvania.   Being from Pennsylvania originally, I always thought the best corn came from there so it didn’t surprise me that the Pennsylvania corn was far superior in both flavor and size.  What did surprise me was how drastically different they were.  The ears of Virginia corn (on the right) were smaller in size and almost tasteless.  The larger ears of Pennsylvania corn were so sweet and delicious they didn’t need anything on them.  No salt. No Earth Balance.  Nothing.  In fact, the Pennsylvania corn was so good, we went out the next day and bought some more! Sorry Virginia, Pennsylvania corn has you beat by a mile.  No contest.

So how about you?  Where do you get really, really good corn?



{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Scott Carlson August 1, 2013, 3:58 pm

    I’m in SouthEast Wisconsin, there are corn stands all over the place this time of year.

    • Robin August 1, 2013, 4:53 pm

      I imagine the corn is pretty good in Wisconsin, Scott.

      • Scott Carlson August 1, 2013, 5:55 pm

        Yes, i usually enjoy mine with some lime juice and chili powder.

        • Robin August 1, 2013, 5:57 pm

          I love lime juice on corn! I’ve never tried it with chili powder! 🙂

  • tanya August 1, 2013, 4:10 pm

    If you grow your own tomatoes, it’s easy to find amazing, wonderful, flavorful tomatoes. Pruden’s Purple is a longtime favorite — early for a big tomato, reliable, does well in many different climates. Tommy Toe is a great cherry tomato, prolific and with big-tomato balanced flavor, an Ozarks heirloom that has won taste contests in Australia. I grow about 30 varieties every year, and I’m always finding new favorites.

    I’ve eaten corn raw for decades. If it’s worth eating, it has great flavor raw, with absolutely nothing added. Most of the corn available at farmers’ markets and stores is ultra-sweet. I grew a black variety this year and protect a couple ears from the squirrels. Aztec Black has a cornier flavor and huge kernels.

    • Robin August 1, 2013, 4:52 pm

      Wow, Tanya. Those tomato and corn varieties sound fantastic!

  • Birgit August 1, 2013, 5:02 pm

    We live in the Pacific Northwest and get our corn at the farmers market.

    • Robin August 1, 2013, 5:12 pm

      All the produce I’ve ever had while visiting the Pacific Northwest has been great, so the corn must be too!

  • Carole August 1, 2013, 5:17 pm

    Being from Western Pennsylvania, I agree with you, Robin! Our best corn comes from Evans City; it’s definitely the go-to corn for the Pittsburgh area 🙂 Bread and butter corn, stripped from the ear and blended with some shelled edamame, is our favorite summer corn blend.

    • Robin August 1, 2013, 5:23 pm

      Sounds great, Carole. Growing up in Northeastern PA, the corn was fantastic. The corn I got this weekend was from the Lancaster area and it’s just as good as I remember the corn being when I was a kid. Must be the soil!

  • Jonathan Shanes August 1, 2013, 5:56 pm

    We get incredible Ohio grown corn from the North Union Farmer’s market which is a meeting place for local farmers and producers. The corn we get is generally picked within 24 hours of our purchase. Many years ago I was on a rafting trip in PA and we got some corn from a farm near the river. When we ate it, we discovered it was Hog feed, gigantic, yellow kernels. LOL..

    • Robin August 1, 2013, 5:59 pm

      The corn you get sounds great, Jonathan. I think getting it fresh-picked is key to the best flavor. I think I’ve had that kind of corn with the huge yellow kernels — they’re kind of tough! 🙂

  • Stuart August 2, 2013, 7:18 am

    We use quite a bit of corn here in various dishes but of late I am concerned. I’ve seen a number of reports over the last year or so that claim 90% or higher of corn crops are GMO either directly or via cross pollination. It really bothers me and perhaps I do not have all the correct figures. I tried some local farms and honestly the quality was very poor.

    My post is off tangent but I was curious if anyone else had these concerns.

  • Sherrie August 3, 2013, 7:36 am

    I wait in anticipation each summer for the Olathe sweet corn to arrive. It’s the best corn I’ve ever had. My favorite way to prepare is to sprinkle with a bit of fresh minced onion and garlic, rub with some Natural Balance, a little salt and pepper, wrap in foil and bake. Awesome! Try Colorado’s Olathe sweet corn. You will keep coming back for more.

    • Robin August 3, 2013, 7:52 am

      The Olathe corn sounds fantastic Sherrie!

  • Karen August 7, 2013, 10:44 am

    I can’t make a judgment call about other states’ corn on the cob, but I can say that Wisconsin does a pretty gosh-darn fine job. I always look forward to this time of year. Two nice, big ears of corn make a lovely meal, IMHO.

  • Becky August 15, 2013, 10:51 am

    I’ve gotten some wonderful Virginia corn this year – all this rain has made for some very tasty sweet corn. I bring it straight home from the farmer’s market, shuck it and throw it in a pot of water.

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