Sunday, August 19, 2007

At the Dupont Farmers Market- the future is almost here


This week's farmers market trip was to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Dupont is one of a half dozen Freshfarm markets. It's held on Sundays year round.
Being the height of the summer growing season, this D.C. market was bustling today, despite the looming clouds threatening to dowse us with rain (which isn't a bad thing, we need it badly). Peaches, tomatoes and melons are still going strong. Corn was less abundant, however, I did purchase a type of yellow corn called Mirai™ (pronounced me-RYE) from Toigo Orchards®. To me, Silver Queen (or most supersweet white kernel corn that falls under the same moniker) has been the king of corn. But, this may change.
Mirai™ (meaning "the future is almost here" and "taste"), a yellow, white or bi-colored corn, was developed in 1992 at a seed company in Illinois. It's popularity in the USA is resurging now after being grown primarily in Japan, where smaller boutique farms would tend to and pick it by hand. With seeds once again available here since 2001, Mirai™ has become known for it's corn taste, sweetness, tenderness and longevity after picking. It can be stored for longer periods of time due to a decreased starch content. I have read it can keep in the refrigerator anywhere from 17 days to 6 weeks!
So here's the Mirai™(left) alongside a supersweet white variety that came from Lancaster County PA. The Mirai™ comes from Shippensburg, PA.

Tasting the two raw; they were both sweet and juicy. However, after cooking (shown below, with white corn on bottom) in boiling water for 2 minutes, the Mirai™ developed a depth of corn flavor that the white variety didn't. The white corn remained sugary and did not develop any flavor to speak of.
I'm fortunate I came upon this corn today, as it's lead me to rediscover what corn should taste like; it ought to retain the flavor of corn and not forsake that for sweetness. I may even consider giving up the butter and salt.

I'm not promising....

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