Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I've always wondered what the title of Emlyn William's vintage play "The Corn is Green" had to do with the favorite crop of summer since the best is decidedly yellow or variations thereof.
But the parade has nevertheless begun at nearly full throttle for summer produce, with the two most prominent crops now being corn and tomatoes, with or without Miss Moffit's ministrations.
Early heirloom tomatoes at the Harris Farm Store
Until we get a solid stay of hot summer sun, though, I haven’t come across a great tomato yet exhibiting its characteristic sweet, juicy goodness.
Corn, too, needs similar growing conditions, but I’ve had two local varieties recently that are absolutely incredible. Most common is the respectable Sugar and Gold, the yellow and white bicolor variety that’s a staple at markets.
Recently I was in the Mid Coast and stopped into Beth’s Farm Market in the Warren hills where she is offering a new variety this year called Vision Stellar, an all-yellow corn that is so sweet and tender it’s truly like biting into candy corn.
Beth's Farm Market (shot earlier this year ) who sells great corn, a full selection of greens, fruits (including her famous ever-bearing strawberries), vegetables and baked goods
Admittedly it’s a trek to travel to Beth’s (about 80 miles from Portland) to stock up on her corn, but closer to home the pickings are just as good at the Harris Farm where their Gourmet Super Sweet corn enjoys nearly legendary status amongst the farm’s many devotees.
Sweet grazing ground for Harris Farm's beef and dairy cattle raised on pasture and farther afield, their famous corn
The corn is available at their farm store in Dayton on Buzzell Road or at the Saco Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturday. From Portland it’s only a 27 mile drive to the farm, and a few miles less to the Saco Farmer’s Market grounds. Going to the farm, once you’re off Route 111, the verdant fields of farms and meadows offer a steady vista, which makes for a scenic drive.
The Harris Farm Store with milk, cream, butter, eggs, vegetables and their prized beef and veal; the corn is in bins outside
At Harris Farm, there are two varieties of corn: Enhanced and Gourmet Super Sweet. According to farm matriarch Dixie Harris, the enhanced is more like an old-fashioned corn and the super sweet is the star of the show. She and husband Bill tend to the corn in this multi-generational farming family while son Clint and wife Rachel do all the vegetables, meat and dairy.
You can't miss it, neatly labeled, "Super Sweet" but try the Enhanced ,too, for its old-fashioned flavor and texture
Gourmet Super Sweet Corn, Harris Farm's sweetest variety
I was there early Sunday morning before the store’s display tables were full, but it’s also a great source for their specialty cuts of veal and beef, pasteurized and raw milk in glass bottles, artisanal-quality heavy cream (pasteurized) and beautiful heirloom tomato varieties to go with all that super-sweet corn.
Photography by John Golden
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.