The making of flavor #86 Elote
Step 1: Husk all of the corn. Ever.
Corn isn’t yet in season here in NYC, so we’ve teamed up with some responsible farmers in Florida for this flavor. It’s corn ice cream. Spiced up and seasoned like Mexican street corn — you know.. mayo, cojita cheese, cayenne?
This is seriously the sweetest, juiciest, even milkiest(!) corn we’ve ever had. We ate it off the cob, raw. It’s from the Sunshine Sweet Corn Exchange, a collective of family-run farms in Palm Beach County. That means it’s non-GMO corn. Non-GMO corn, you ask? Is it possible in today’s world? Yes. It’s real, and it’s awesome.
We caught up with Caroline, the collective’s rep, to get some deets on, basically, how is it so darn good.
MM: Okay so how your corn so darn good?
SSCE: A lot of it is in the breeding – we have worked hard to develop varieties that are sweeter and sweeter longer for a better shelf life. We take every step to ensure that what you get at the super market is the sweetest and freshest corn it can be.
MM: You say it’s naturally bred to be the sweetest corn you’ve had. How?
SSCE: Well, the birds and the bees… just kidding. If you can remember anything about Mendel and his sweet peas from high school - selecting recessive and dominant traits and breeding for them over several generations - it honestly doesn’t get much simpler than that. Basically, over generations of sweet corn we have identified and then selected and bred for the characteristics we wanted. A lot of the farmers that we work with are second and third (and on) generation sweet corn farmers, so there’s a lot of knowledge and experience that’s been passed down.
MM: How many farms comprise the collective?
SSCE: The Florida Sweet Corn exchange is a voluntary organization of shippers and growers who work together to market fresh sweet corn in the spring. Most people don’t know that Florida is actually the biggest producer of sweet corn in the country and our sweet corn comes into peak season during April and May. Most people don’t think Florida when they think corn and there’s a stubborn perception that corn is a Summer vegetable when, in fact, for most of the country, fresh corn is really at its peak in the spring! So we work together to try to make sure that more people get to experience better corn!
MM: How do you compete with larger, GMO-laden farms?
SSCE: The GMO corn you read about is mostly in the processing and feed industry – meaning the stuff that’s grown to be made into corn syrup and other processed food products and fed to livestock. There is very little sweet corn grown from GMO seed and none in Florida.
MM; When we think of corn, we think of the Corn Belt in the midwest. How does Florida Sweet Corn compete?
SSCE: We don’t like to think of it as a competition because no one else produces Sunshine Sweet Corn! The varieties that we have developed that fall under that Sunshine Sweet name are unique to The Florida Sweet Corn Exchange so that’s a pretty big distinction. The other big difference is our spring season – we’re really the only ones producing sweet corn in any significant volume during April and May. The producers in the “Corn Belt” in the Midwest have a different season than us so they’re sending their product to market a time when we’re really not competing.
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