When most people think of American foods, they picture apple pies cooling on window sills and hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the grill.
And while it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, food doesn’t get more American than corn.
Corn, a plant native to North America, has been a staple of the American diet long before Squanto taught the pilgrims how to grow it. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States.
Corn was in high demand Thursday afternoon at the booth of Jim and Jill Matthews at the Spout Springs Farmers Market in Flowery Branch. Within an hour of opening, the Matthews had sold 10 dozen ears of corn.
Jill Matthews said shopping for produce at a farmers market provides the benefit of a more personalized product because of more interaction between buyers and growers.
“It’s just that we can test the flavors,” the Jackson County resident said. “We can adjust our crops to things that people would prefer. We always get feedback and people will say ‘Oh, I wish we had some that was sweeter or brighter.’ If it turns out that people want more of a kind of corn, we’ll grow more.”
Matthews, who maintains a “large garden” on three rented fields, has found yellow and white corn is the best seller.
Arlene and Dan Freeman, of Oakwood, stopped by the booth to purchase a dozen ears of corn.
“I like the bicolored corn the best,” Arlene Freeman said. “They’re my favorite. My dad grew that all the years we were growing up and that was everybody’s favorite.”
Arlene Freeman said while she’s prepared corn in a lot of different ways over the years, she prefers to simply steam the ears before serving.
Jill Matthews held up a corn cob and said she doesn’t even bother cooking her corn.
“I just like to pick it, shuck it and eat it right there,” she said.
While some may prefer to prepare corn more simply, there is no shortage of ways to serve the vegetable.