Notable Edibles: Knee High

Most farmers are satisfied with corn that’s knee high by the 4th of July. Not Jacob Rottkamp of Fox Hollow Farm on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.

corn-field

Most farmers are satisfied with corn that’s knee high by the 4th of July. Not Jacob Rottkamp of Fox Hollow Farm on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.

About 20 years ago, Mr. Rottkamp started planting corn seed in the beginning of April, a full month or more before some of his neighbors.

Hoping to have sweet corn at his stand for Independence Day barbecues, Mr. Rottkamp covers the corn rows with plastic sheeting to warm the soil and then removes the plastic just before the seedlings break the surface.

The approach, since adopted by other growers, has worked about 10 years out of 20. In some years, blizzards have piled snow on top of the plastic. “We don’t fool Mother Nature,” Mr. Rottkamp said. “We change it to a point, yes. But we’re gamblers.” Those who don’t get over to Fox Hollow Farm in time, but still understand that corn trucked in from Florida or Arizona will never rival the sensuous, milky delight of corn harvested at the peak of ripeness, will just have to be patient.

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