Thursday, February 19, 2009

Growing and Grinding Corn

This week's winter CSA box will include a 1 pound bag of corn meal (choice of blue or yellow). Previously, the CSA was given popping corn and hominy to enjoy. Back in the middle of summer, sweet corn was on the menu, with or without a few corn worms to work around.

Tierra grows a variety of corn types. The wide world of corn includes sweet corn (what we are used to eating fresh), flint corn (the native varieties, a little difficult to process), dent corn (bred for good flour and polenta processing), flour corn, parching corn, popping corn, and many more categories exist. In 2008, Tierra grew sweet corn for fresh eating, popcorn for snacking, a yellow dent corn for flour/polenta/cooking, a blue flour corn for similar purposes, and a red flour corn called Bloody Butcher which was the first to sell out this season. This grand selection of local corn products will only expand in seasons to come.

A flour mill was purchased last season, expanding capabilities to produce corn meal and additional grains in the future. Weekly corn grinding is head-splitting event as the machine is quite loud. Wayne takes on the job with ear plugs and endurance.
From this point the corn meal is weighed and bagged fresh for market. Lee has made corn muffins, breads, polentas, or corn meal mush. We have added chiles to the muffins and used our chile jams and Tierra-produced honey for toppings. Customers have raved about making corn meal pancakes. The uses go on and on.

Enjoy your freshly ground corn meal this week and as long as it is available. After handing out over 100 pounds to supply the CSA, supplies will be short until next seasons rolls around.

On a nutritional note, consider the benefits of your fresh and local product versus the commercially processed standard. The corn meal produced by the farm has not been de-germed prior to grinding. Therefore, you are being offered a product in it's whole grain form with maximum nutrition and flavor. Typically in the production of corn meal, polentas and grits, the germ is removed like other grains long before ever making it into our kitchens.

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