CSA News: Augustus and the Battle of Corn!

So, in case you didn’t notice August is here, and now it is almost over!  How did that happen?  Well, I guess we can just notch it up to time flies when you are having fun and working hard.
But wait, what fun?  It is hot, and the weeds are almost winning, and August is the only month without a holiday!   Ok, maybe not an official holiday, but we at the PEAS Farm certainly have our own holiday we celebrate every August at the annual Farm Party.  We were lucky enough this year to have amazing weather, food, and people at the Farm Party, and we want to thank everyone who came to celebrate the wonderful place we live and the food we are lucky enough to help grow!

August is a special time for many reasons, it is home to many of the Dog Days of summer, it is also the time of ripening of many of our wonderful vegeta-fruits like tomatoes and peppers and pumpkins, and it was named after the founder of the Roman Empire.

But in our globalized system of food it is also extremely important as the time of year when (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) we begin to harvest corn – an incredible plant with a fascinating history. I really do recommend taking a little time to learn about it, because IT IS IN ALMOST EVERYTHING WE CONSUME!

Corn has become very controversial over that past ten or fifteen years, and with good reason, ranging from high fructose corn syrup to GMO corn pollen, corn doesn’t get much love from the “foodie” population.  But wait! corn isn’t all bad! In fact, corn is wonderful. The issue is how we as human have decided to manipulate and use this amaizeing plant (what? too corny?).

Anyway, corn can be great.  And if you are a CSAer at the PEAS Farm you know this already.  Right now we are harvesting our sweet corn at an incredible rate!  So you can expect at least 5-6 ears a week with your share for about 3 or 4 more weeks.  This corn can be cooked, but also eaten fresh or stripped off the cob and frozen for later use, without even blanching, which is nice.

So enjoy that sweet corn: it is a healthy, sweet treat that comes along only once a year, and takes a lot of work and land to produce.  And when you yearn for corn in the fall, winter, and spring, turn to sweet corn’s cousin, popcorn for a delicious, healthy snack full of antioxidants! (You know we can grow our own popcorn here in Montana too…)

I will leave you with a recipe for this peach of a plant. . .

Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad with Fresh Cilantro

Modified from Bon Appétit, July 2004

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

10 ears fresh corn, husked – the fresher the better
2 pounds plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Cook corn in large pot with boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; cool to room temperature. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Transfer corn to large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss to blend. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally.)