Shoepeg Corn - Why the Blank Stares?
We used to buy it in cans labeled 'Mitchell's', which was/is a farming family in Perryman, Harford County. The Mitchells have pretty much subdivided and sold all their farmland for industrial development, which probably accounts for the absence of the product in the supermarkets. I've never had it fresh off the cob. My late father loved it and always lamented that one couldn't find it locally and fresh anymore by the 1960s. The corn apparently is sweet with narrow, deep kernels in uneven rows. I've asked at farm and produce stands about it and all I get are furrowed eyebrows and shoulder shrugs. (Maybe I should limit my queries to people over 80 years of age.) Anyway, has anyone seen shoepeg at any of the Baltimore farmers' markets or elsewhere? I know it isn't the season yet, but I find myself intrigued at the thought of chowing down on this heirloom.
Not sure what varietals they use, but you can call up artisanal mills like Anson and get heirloom stuff, at least as grits/polenta
That variety of corn is also known as Country Gentleman. You could call Local Harvest and see if they would tell you anyone who has purchased the seed from them in bulk. They keep track of local farms and farmers' markets around the country.
This variety of corn is a real Southern variety and isn't known - or cherished - outside the South. I think it grows particularly well around the Delmarva.
This may not be that easy to find. Most farmers have started planting the newer hybrids which keep longer after picking because markets and consumers like them better.
It's become impossible to find genuine Silver Queen any longer unless you grow it yourself and fight the deer for it.
I can't help you but I must say that this is a most fascinating discussion. I honestly hadn't thought of shoepeg corn in over 30 years, and my very non-foodie father loved it. I'm also on a search for an image of a can of it. So far, google hasn't helped.
Anyway, I joined you in being intrigued at the very idea of eating shoepeg corn, either canned or fresh.
This is not shoe peg corn, but my husband's family has a tradition dating back several generations (from the West VA mom's side) of preparing this for all holiday meals:
I've learned how to prepare it and it goes over well with everyone, even non-family who've never had it before. I get the dried corn and do the creamed corn recipe on the box.