By Ken De Laat
“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”- Anthony Bourdain, KItchen Confidential
Admittedly I have always been a bit of a corn connoisseur having been mentored in the pursuit of this magical maize by a father who held sweet corn…and I mean Homegrown Michigan sweet corn…akin to the Holy Grail of vegetables. Under his tutelage I learned the ins and outs of locating the creme de la creme of corn traveling the back roads in search of those enigmatic roadside stands where one can find these tantalizing treasures.
In the off-season (October until late July) most grocery stores carry some version of fresh corn grown in one of those states where their concept of layering amounts to a light jacket on ‘chilly’ days. Of course it is inevitably disappointing. I’ve heard people say “We got some Florida corn at the store and you know, it was not so bad.”
Not So Bad?
Sweet corn is not supposed to be “Not So Bad” Not so bad is what you say after a root canal proved to be a degree or two less painful than expected. Sweet corn is supposed to be like a slice of heaven on a cob.
But I digress.
Now it is late July and while bemoaning the rapid retreat of summer I was ready to get my hands on a couple of cobs. And not just any ordinary kernels. We’re talking about the long awaited arrival of the ears of exquisite epicurean experience available at the Kokx farm.
This Maple Island Rd destination has long been my go-to site for heralding the beginning of the season of sweet corn. When it was announced that Thursday would see the Grand Opening I reset my schedule accordingly. I knew from past experience there would likely be an ample supply but admittedly there was that touch of angst that perhaps this year an early morning slam would deplete the first harvest. I mean, when it comes to securing the ultimate in sweet corn can past experience really be trusted?
Rumor had it they would begin welcoming corn seekers at 9am. It so happened that Lifetime Spousal Companion LIl was leaving that day for a bit of a reune with some long time friends in another city. We breakfasted at Hit The Road Joe, said our goodbyes and she departed for her get together. while I shifted my focus on one destination.
Arriving at 11ish there were about 8-10 cars with a few folks queueing up. I immediately scored a dozen while giving a quick hello to Farm Matriarch Joan Kokx and cruising home with that kind of feeling you get when all seems right with the Universe. 6 went to daughter Biz who inherited the family passion for this palate pleasing produce and 6 came home with me.
On Thursday my solitary supper turned out to be three ears drenched with butter (never margarine…ever.) and salted sparingly, cukes and red peppers tossed with a little Italian dressing a slice of Lil's homemade sourdough bread and half of a wonderful Indiana melon procured from Nelson's Market.
Friday was the same.
Saturday morning found me back at the farm for another dozen.
Lil is returning Monday and with any measure of personal discipline there just might be a few ears left for us to share that evening.
But seriously, who am I kidding? Chances are better than not I’ll be heading west for a Monday morning maize run.
“... food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”- E.A Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
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