By Tom Collins
ESSEX — Thanks to a wet planting season followed by extremely dry weather, sweet corn growers were about two weeks behind in getting their crop onto the market as the crop was late emerging.
Don Malott of Malott’s Sweet Corn in Essex County said his fields were so wet that his tractor got stuck while planting, and he ended up no-tilling 90 per cent of his 30 acres of crops.
“I broke all the rules this year when I planted my sweet corn,” he said. “It’s just been a real struggle. We had to irrigate everything after because once the tap shut off, it never came back on.”
Normally, Malott aims to start selling sweet corn around July 4, but didn’t have anything this year until July 20. Selling 14 ears for $7, he normally wraps up on the Labour Day weekend, when his hired help goes back to school. This year he estimates he’ll have sweet corn until Thanksgiving, or maybe even Halloween.
“I have corn that hasn’t even tasseled yet,” he said on Aug. 30.
He also said there has been a ton of worm pressure that normally isn’t there. Wendy Fleming of Fleming Farms at Embro in Oxford County has also had issues with worms and a late start.
The farm, which grows about three acres, only sells sweet corn (12 ears for $6.50) during the month of August. However, the poor planting season meant no sweet corn was available until the middle of August, effectively cutting their selling season in half.
The poor season has also made it more difficult to harvest. Instead of a field being ready at the same time, it’s a third of the corn each time. That means more work walking the fields multiple times to pick from the same field.
“The heat made the late varieties come on much faster than they were supposed to,” she said.
Sweet corn struggled, arrived late and some is for the worms
By Tom Collins