Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sweet Corn

Finally, finally, we are getting some sweet corn. I heard on the radio today that we've had over 17 inches of rain in June and July, and that sums up the reason for the very late crop.

I always buy my sweet corn from the little stand in the Lutheran church parking lot, less than a block from my house. The stand is actually run by Grace United Methodist Church. They grow the corn on their church lot, and then it is sold to raise funds for their various benevolent endeavors. The Lutherans allow them to use this primo spot for their stand.

Here's how they do it. On Sunday morning there is a sign-up sheet at church where members of the congregation can pick 2-hour time-slots to volunteer to sell the corn at one of two locations; either in their own church parking lot in Urbana, or at the one near my house. Then every morning, at 6am, enough corn is picked to fill two trailers. Those are then towed into place by 8am, where they sit all day, manned by the volunteers, until the corn is sold. Usually, it sells out, but when it doesn't, the extra is taken to the T.I.M.E.S. Center homeless shelter. The next day they start over with more freshly picked corn. This year it is selling for $5/dozen.

This is the only sweet corn we eat. I don't like corn that has been sitting around in a store; I like it right out of the field. I got spoiled when I was in college and I worked one summer for Illinois Foundation Seed. We were allowed to pick some fresh for our family at the end of every work day, and I took full advantage of that. Mmmm! Nothing is better than fresh Illini Supersweet corn, loaded with butter and salt and pepper!

Here's where the money goes:

Crisis nursery
Center For Women In Transition
Eastern Illinois Food Bank
Restoration Urban Ministries
T.I.M.E.S. Center
Jesus Is The Way Prison Ministries
GUMC Food Pantry
Empty Tomb
Cunningham Children's Home

Methodist Agencies-
Henderson Settlement-Frakes, KY
Midwest Mission Distribution Center
Liberia District Partnership
Czech Partnership

Other Non-Profit Agencies-
Habitat for Humanity
Kaz Apletrree House
Society of St. Andrew

Mission Support-
Miguel Arenas Herrea, Uruguay
Laptop Computers for Liberian Missionaries


JAM said...

I love reading about central IL in your posts - I lived in Champaign for 3 years, and my husband lived in Urbana. We loved our time there, and I remember the sweet corn festival every summer. Now I'm back in the Boston area where I grew up (after 12 years in the Chicago area) but I have such good memories of our time in Illinois.

Green Bean said...

How wonderful! Nothing like fresh corn and better late than never.

Joyce said...

jam-How fun to find this out! Isn't the sweet corn festival a blast? I'm sure you'll recognize a few things in the photos I post.
GB-Sweet corn is THE defining food of midsummer!

Robin said...

That is a prime location for sales. I had to do a quick lane change yesterday to stop and pick up some corn. I think it's such a cool thing that they do every year. I hope they keep it going.

Joyce said...

Ha! Robin, I've seen some of those moves! Just don't get so focused on the corn that you take out the nice lady on the bicycle, okay?

Lady Sterling said...

That is such a cool idea that the church grows the corn and then sells it for missions or other projects. I would have never thought of that! That is awesome on so many different levels. Folks want, need, like corn; it is natural; environmentally-friendly; Biblical; feed those who don't have food; and so on.

I miss the Urbana Farmer Market on Saturdays! Such a sense of community and wonderful foods and goods.

Joyce said...

K-I even like that the Lutherans are so nice about all that traffic in their parking lot.
When I think of it, you really lived close to that farmer's market! I'll bet you could just walk to it. I haven't been there often because it's "clear over in Urbana"! You know, the other side of the world, practically!

CindyW said...

Yay corn! That's the best corn story I have heard yet, especially after watching the terrifying "King Corn".

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I just love this story. This is what Jesus intended for all of us, isn't it?~~Dee

Rose said...

I've passed by this spot several times lately! By the time I went by, I think they were already sold out, but I'll have to stop by this week if they're still there. I appreciate knowing, too, that the money is going to help some of my favorite charities.
A friend of my husband's gave him a few ears the other day--our first of the season. There is nothing like fresh sweet corn straight out of the garden!

Joyce said...

Cindy-It's great corn, and not the least bit terrifying!
Dee-You're right-this is just the way we should all be operating.
Rose-isn't it crazy that the corn is just now coming on? Hope you can get some before they sell out!

eco 'burban mom said...

OH! This is one of the things I miss most about living in Illinois in farm country. The smell of the fields, the fresh picked corn, the black earth. Every year we went to the Mendota Sweet Corn Festival, it was the highlight of our summer! One summer in high school I actually had a job "detasseling" corn!!

Joyce said...

ECB-I don't mean to make you home-sick, but I love to step outside and smell that corn pollen every morning. And I've detassled, too, as have my sons; hard, hot work, right? But good money for a tweve-year-old!

Melissa said...

wow, between this and the milk, having a meal at your house is a really good deed! I love it!

Jena said...

What a great idea! If everyone took advantage of a little free lawn space like that, imagine how much wonderful produce would be available. What a nice plus too that the money goes to help all of those different places. Mmmm... I going to have to seek out some sweet corn around here now! :)