My Indiana Food Memory: Indiana Corn
By Sara Croft | August 19, 2013
I grew up amidst the cornfields of Vigo County. The height of the stalks marked the beginning and end of summer. Seeing them everyday was a reminder of the recess from school and responsibilities.
Even though those responsibilities now involve work instead of studies, seeing the green maze still brings excitement but in a different way. To me, there is nothing like eating fresh Indiana corn on the cob.
Being naturally bright yellow with checkers of white and varying shades in between, corn on the cob visually represents the sun of summer. Delicious on its own but often coated in a layer of butter and salt, only to enhance its freshness, corn on the cob is the perfect accompaniment to an outdoor picnic or get together.
The production of Indiana corn tells me that I’m not the only one who enjoys it. According to Farmers Feed US, Indiana is the 5th leading producer of corn in the nation to the tune of $32 billion dollars. 800 kernels make up a cob in about 16 rows. That’s a lot of individual pieces of corn to enjoy!
It’s no surprise that popcorn is another love of mine second to corn on the cob, and Indiana is home to some of the nation’s most well-known popcorn producers. Orville Redenbacher, born in Brazil, Indiana, started his popcorn company in Valparaiso, Ind. Since I grew up close to Brazil I know about and have been to the popcorn festival that happens there each year to celebrate his birth and achievements. Pop Weaver, one of the largest popcorn producers in the nation, is located in Van Buren, Ind., and is a primary partner with the 2013 Indiana State Fair due to it being the year of popcorn.
Indiana chefs and restaurants are using corn in a variety of ways at Dig IN since it is in season. Last year I couldn’t get enough of Circle City Soups’ My Dad’s Sweet Corn Chowder. While the bacon in the soup was a nice touch, the corn was the real star of the slightly sweet and creamy soup. I’m extremely curious to see and taste how corn will be represented at this year’s event. I have been told that Lemley’s will have chicken on a grit cake and Valley Kitchen and Bar will have bacon and white cheddar grits. Also, Nicey Treat will have a roasted sweet corn popsicle – yes, popsicle – mixing corn with Traders Point Creamery milk. Dig IN chefs always have creative treats that make me say, “I would have never thought of that!”
My advice to you is to get your hands on local corn by attending this year’s Dig IN festival. You may just walk away with inspiration for something to make in your own kitchen!
Sara Croft is a member of the #DigIN Gastronauts and a food adventurer with a passion for creating and a hunger for culinary inspiration. You can find out more on Sara, her recipes and her food adventures on her site, SolidGoldEats.com. Follow her on Twitter @saraelysecroft.
Tickets for Dig IN, A Taste of Indiana are available now. Get yours here!