Thursday, July 05, 2007

Keel's Corn

This is another of Gerry from Valparaiso's posts. I am jealous since the sweet corn isn't ready here in Wisco just yet. The stands pop up all over the place when it does come in, and I am like Gerry - I eat a LOT of it.

Fresh Corn-On-The-Cob.

I am so blessed.

One of the many advantages of living in a rural area is the abundance of farm stands. About four miles down the road is a genuine family owned farm stand. It’s called Keel’s Country Corner. They know me by name because I am a daily customer this time of year. It is off the beaten path but word of mouth draws folks from town.
Fresh sweet corn is the very best and they pick it daily. They grow a few varieties, some mature earlier than others. One variety that comes ripe in August is a Japanese hybrid that is by far the best I have ever had. In Harvard, Illinois a farm stand grows it and it draws people all the way from Chicago who pay 3 times what Keel charges. Ma Keel told me that a morning radio guy named Spike O’Dell has made that stand in Harvard famous. Ma Keel wishes Spike would mention her stand. I don’t. This morning a Keel daughter-in-law who works at the nearby mini-mart told me the corn has been in as of last Thursday.

Woo-hoo! I will be there today, tomorrow and every day I am home until the first frost.

I like corn on the cob that is steamed, boiled or grilled and it does not need a long time to cook. Ma Keel eats it raw because this stuff is so tender.

Twice a year the Keels have a pig roast. Pulled pork and all the corn you can eat for $3. They have a steamer made form a beer keg that steams up to six dozen ears at a time. There is a coffee can loaded with melted butter for dipping the ear into. Peel back the husk and silk, use as a handle and dip. I take a lawn chair and spend the day. Pork, corn and beer on the farm, what’s not to like?

The Keel’s are getting old and have their farm up for sale. They want to retire. Other family members aren’t interested in keeping the farm going so this may be the last year. But this is what they told me three years ago so we’ll see.

The next farm stand is over twelve miles away and the corn just is not as good as what I get at Keel’s. It’s called Coulter’s and it is a larger more professional operation. They just lack the charm of Keel’s.I will be very disappointed to see the Keel’s close up. It will be the end of an era.


Dan from Madison said...

Question on that last photo - the line of doors on the wall looks like the cooler row in a convenience or liquor store - I imagine that is what this structure used to be, but it looks to be outside - can you clarify?

gerry from valparaiso said...


Pa' Keel bought that cooler at an auction. They use it to store the corn that they pick early in the morning, melons, ets.

Things you learn hanging around farm stands......
sweet corn must be picked by 6-7am each day. Pick corn after that and much of the sugar has retreated back into the stalk and the ears will not be as sweet.

Annie said...

I didn't know that! And I'm a Hoosier for cryin' out loud!
Thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

Go ahead tempt me and then don't tell me where keel's is located!
Come on--Im lookin for good sweet corn.