First Connecticut grown sweet corn ready for July 4th holiday weekend

Thousands of Connecticut residents will get the season’s first taste of sweet corn over July 4th weekend, thanks to local growers using techniques that allow them to cultivate and harvest an early crop ahead of other Northeast states.

Several larger farmers who supply farm stands and markets statewide are able to pick early through the use of growing aids such as plastic mulch and mesh fabric row covers that help warm the soil, speeding germination, root growth and maturity of the plant.

The cost of producing an acre under cover is about double that of traditional agriculture, but in many cases the methods produce edible ears about two weeks earlier than fields planted without them.

“These techniques require a significant investment in time and resources,” Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “But without them it is very likely that the only sweet corn available this weekend would be shipped in from the South after being harvested perhaps a week ago. That simply cannot approach the taste and texture of a freshly-picked ear of Connecticut sweet corn.”

A number of growers that specialize in early sweet corn are concentrated in the Connecticut River Valley, including the Anderson farm in Wethersfield, Burnham farm in East Hartford and the Wagner and Baggott farms in East Windsor.

Statewide, there are about 300 farms that grow a total of 4,000 acres of sweet corn.

A complete list of growers, as well as farm stands and farmer’s markets, is available on the Dept. of Agriculture’s website, CTGrown.gov.

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