Friday field work in Muscatine County leads the way to a sweet surprise.
“I would never have believed that I would be picking sweet corn on June 17th,” said grower John Kiwala.
But the sweet corn harvest is underway more than two weeks early. At the Krueger farm in rural Letts, Iowa, workers are picking the crop, ear by ear.
“In my career, I’ve never picked sweet corn so early,” Kiwala said. “And because of the dry weather this year and the warmer weather, we’ve been able to do this.”
“Some of the very earliest sweet corn is actually being picked right now,” added Vince Lawson, superintendent at Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm.
At the Iowa State facility, the test crop is coming in fine. Early planting means an early harvest. For this crop, there will be plenty to pick.
“We wait until that right stage when the kernels are nice, plump and juicy, and there’s optimum sweetness,” Lawson said. “That’s when we take them off the ear.”
The 4th of July is usually a good time for sweet corn to arrive. It’s arriving even earlier this year. That’s good news for those who love the taste of this summertime treat.
“We have the best looking crops we’ve seen in 10 years,” Kiwala said.
The Kruegers will have up to 300 dozen ears of corn at the Davenport Farmers Market on Saturday, June 23. That’s well ahead of schedule. Financially, it’s also good news for growers.
“The earlier the sales, the more sales that you have in the operating year,” Kiwala said. “That helps you meet your expenses.”
Since the Kruegers have multiple plantings of different varieties, it will set the stage for a long growing season.
“They’re probably not going to believe it’s Iowa sweet corn,” Kiwala concluded. “But, yes, it is.”
Ear by ear, it will be the sweet taste of summer even earlier.