Meade County Sweet Corn Showdown

CHAD HOBBS

Messenger Staff


Hello Meade County and welcome back for week two of the Meade County Sweet Corn Showdown. Last week, we had an impromptu, off the cuff start to this showdown with a single competitor, unbeknownst to them. With Piddlin’ Produce grabbing the early bird three points as the first competitor to bring an ear to market and one point for winning as the sole competitor, they jumped to an early 4 point lead. Piddlin’ Produce had only taken the lead by days, though, as Farmer’s Daughter Produce, Chapman Farms, Hardesty Farms and Greenhouses, Luke Millay/Braden Compton and Roberts’ Family Farm all entered the field (no pun intended) of contenders this week, vying for the MCSC Showdown title. Unfortunately, due to me getting my wires crossed, I was unable to obtain a sample of Luke Millay and Braden Compton’s sweet corn by no fault of theirs.

To keep the search for Meade County’s best golden cob fair, two ears of equal size with the husks on them from each farm went on the grill at the same time. The farms’ names were written on the bottom of paper plates, and the order was switched around so that both my guest judge and myself were completely oblivious to whose corn was whose.

Before I get into breaking down the results, I commend the hard work of all farms involved. All entries were delicious and by themselves, would be a welcome addition to my dinner plate. The true winner in this event is me. Not only am I getting to eat the best sweet corn in Kentucky but getting to meet and talk with the people behind the food is a gift in itself.

There were two farms that rose quickly to the top. Piddlin’ Produce and Farmer’s Daughter Produce both offered up over-the-top sweetness with kernels that exploded with juice when bitten into. They were what I consider to be perfect maturity. Personally, I prefer ears that haven’t had time to toughen up when the ears are allowed to continue maturing.  

Piddlin’ Produce took the number one spot with an ear that tasted more like a dessert than a side. Farmer’s Daughter Produce took a close second, with not more than a few corn silks separating the two. I remember briefly thinking they were almost too sweet but quickly slapped myself for even considering such a ridiculous idea.

In the third spot, there were conflicting ideas on who should get the spot. As a result, Chapman Farms and Hardesty Farms and Greenhouses deadlocked in a tie for the third position. Both offerings were delicious in their own right, but side-by-side with the top two, they were sweet but not quite to the same level as the aforementioned two. I also noticed with these two that they were a little more mature which led to biting off a mouth full of kernels more so than the top two spots which exploded on contact with teeth. That really isn’t a plus or a minus for either one, as some people prefer it this way while others prefer less mature.

That led Roberts’ Family Farm to the fourth position. Let me be clear in saying there was nothing lacking in this entry. It had more to do with the absurd height of the bar set by the top of this week’s class. This entry reminded me more of the sweet corn of my youth, long before the development of some of the absurd super sweet hybrids of today. Where the top of the class provided a bite that was all sugar with a corn flavor trailing behind, this one in comparison was more corn flavor in front of sweetness. That isn’t to say it wasn’t sweet. It just wasn’t sweet to the crazy level Piddlin’ Produce offered. The ear I had was more mature, as well, which may have played into this as much as the variety.

So with the second week done, Piddlin’ Produce adds 6 points this week keeping them in first with 10 pts., Farmer’s Daughter Produce takes second with 5 pts., Chapman Farms and Hardesty Farms are tied for third with 4 pts., Roberts’ Family Farm is in fourth with 3 pts., and Luke Millay/Brandon Compton will get 2 pts. for having corn on the market last week but unfortunately penalized by my failure to get their ears in the competition in week 2.

If you’re looking for sweet corn, I promise you won’t be disappointed with any of these wonderful farmers’ products. You can find Piddlin’ Produce, Roberts’ Family Farm, and Hardesty Farms and Greenhouses at the Meade County Farmers Market on Tue., Sat. and Sun. The Farmer’s Daughter Produce has a produce stand right beside the Midway gas station on Joe Barger’s farm. Chapman Farms sells their corn on Wed. at the Doe Valley Farmers Market beside the Swim and Tennis Club and on Sat. and Sun. just down the road from Buck Grove Baptist Church on the side of the road (HWY 313). Luke Millay and Branden Compton sell their corn in the Kentucky Land Office parking lot in Irvington. All of these farmers can also be contacted for on-farm pickups. For more information, all these farms/farmers have Facebook accounts that they regularly update times and dates on.

It will be interesting to see if these results replicate again next week or if the random selection of two ears will provide different results. Regardless, be sure to support these fine men and women and the wonderful products they all offer. You won’t be disappointed. Until next week, may the butter flow and the sweet aroma of roasting ears fill the air.

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