NJ’s sweet corn growing season has started out with a bang
🌽 New Jersey's sweet corn growing and picking season is underway
🌽 Hot and humid weather is the perfect growing climate for Jersey sweet corn
🌽 Few NJ farms offer pick-your-own corn experiences
MEDFORD — New Jersey’s sweet corn growing and picking season is in full swing and should last through mid-September.
How does New Jersey’s sweet corn crop look this year?
Since sweet corn likes the hot and humid weather, the crop looks really good this year in the Garden State, said Gil Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford.
“Early on in the spring it was a little bit cooler so the corn was a little bit late but right now it’s loving it, and we started picking around June 28 this year, and we started out with a bang,” Johnson said.
Johnson said his farm is one of the few in the state that offers pick-your-own corn. There might be a couple of farms up in North Jersey that offer it but in Burlington County and its surrounding area, Johnson’s Corner Farm is the only one with a pick-your-own-corn option, he added.
On the farm, which he co-owns with his father, Johnson said he grows about 20 acres of sweet corn, with three varieties available throughout the picking season.
He and his team pick a lot of corn fresh daily for the local farm markets. But there is also a section of the field that is portioned off for pick-your-own. A hay ride takes people out to the prime corn-picking spots, as well.
How much sweet corn does New Jersey produce?
According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's 2021 Agricultural Statistics Report, the state ranked as the ninth best producer of sweet corn in 2020. New Jersey grew 5.1 million pounds of sweet corn across 6,300 acres, with a production value of $18.2 million.
What to look for when picking New Jersey sweet corn?
Look for a nice full ear on the stalk. “Typically, the ear that is closest to the top is going to be the best one,” Johnson said.
Sometimes, they’ll be two ears on the stalk. Rarely, there are three, but always pick the ear at the top, he added.
Just feel the ear. If it’s full to the tip, then just pull it and it should come right off, Johnson said.
How do you properly store freshly-picked New Jersey corn?
If you’re not going to eat the corn that was freshly picked that same day, Johnson suggested leaving the corn in the husk. Do not schuck it. Then, place the corn in the refrigerator.
“Every time after we pick our corn, we immediately put it in the refrigerator, and when we have it on display, we cover it in ice. Keeping it nice and cold preserves the sugar and keeps it fresh,” Johnson said.
What makes an ear of Jersey sweet corn different from other corn?
First, New Jersey has the one of best climates to grow sweet corn, which, again is hot and humid. Lately, the state has also been getting plenty of rain, which the corn also needs, Johnson said.
New Jersey farms also grow white corn. A lot of people don’t grow white corn around the country. Many of them grow yellow corn or bi-color corn, Johnson said.
“Sweet white corn tends to be the best. We’ve been growing sweet corn here for a long time, and a lot of other farmers in the area, so we’ve gotten pretty good at it,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s Corner Farm was started in 1953 by Johnson’s grandparents. It’s been a family-owned and operated local pick-your-own farm for 70 years.
Jersey Fresh Produce is already starting to come to market