BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — The ideal time to have farm-fresh sweet corn is by the Fourth of July, but this year’s batch may be delayed by a couple of weeks.
Some Blair County farmers had to delay their planting time because of the weather conditions in April. The ideal planting time for sweet is around the second week of April, for the harvesting to be complete come the beginning of July.
Farmers experienced a mixture of cold temperatures, snow, and floods in April this year. The owner of Blue Barn Farm in Williamsburg, Karen Wilson, experienced significant flooding at the beginning of her sweet corn season.
“This year, unfortunately, our first two plantings were affected by the flood,” Wilson said. “So, we have a flood. We’re right near the river, and it comes over the bank. So that affects our production in the very beginning sweet corn.”
The soil for sweet corn to be planted has to be around 55 degrees. Since snow happened in mid-April, the ground became too cold to plant. Longtime Farmer Gary Long has been planting sweet corn for over 20 years, and this year he had to delay his planting by two weeks to the end of April.
“Local corn is very hard to get right now. It’s mostly coming off the shore or down south,” Long said. “Yes, there is some local corn, but it’s very scarce because of the weather we had back in April. But I didn’t get in this year until about the 28th of April instead of the 12th.”
This year, Long planted 8 acres of sweet corn, around 28,000 seeds. He hopes to yield about 1000 dozens per acre in a good cropping season.
Wilson planted around two acres of super sweet corn, which she will sell at her farm. Long said customers prefer the ideal length of seven to eight inches with a 16 to 18 cm diameter.
However, the corn needs to be grown in ideal conditions to get to that measurement. That includes receiving a certain amount of rain each week and having temperatures be around 70 degrees.
“We don’t determine that,” Long said. ” Yes, we pick varieties that have certain lengths, but that’s grown under ideal conditions. I’m looking for a longer ear knowing the weather is going to make it a seven-inch ear.”
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While neither farmer expects to have the usual volume this year, both have their first batch of corn with tassels. If there are ideal weather conditions and limited wildlife issues, they’ll have their first batch of corn ready by the end of July/early August.
“This corn is shooting tassel, there’s a tassel for it, but it’s not silking yet,” Wilson said, pointing to her corn. So the ears haven’t produced silk yet, so we have ways to grow here, but it’s growing quickly.”
“Be patient with it. It is a crop that’s weather-related. That’s why sometimes you see really nice sweet corn, and the next time it’s not as nice,” Long said.
Because of the increased input costs, both farmers will have their crops at a higher price.