August in Corn Country

It’s August. It feels like August. It smells like August. It even sounds like August. I don’t know how to describe it but it seems that when July ends there is a subtle change in the weather. You just know that summer is winding down and we are slowly heading toward autumn. Had ourselves three good days of steady rain,finally, and you can see the grass greening up again, and the temperatures have cooled down considerably.

Bale & barn

Harvest is in full swing here in southern Ontario. Along the country roads you can see rolling fields of  huge round bales of straw waiting to be rounded up and put under cover for the cold months to come.

Ready for the barn

This is Mennonite country, so there are examples of old fashioned wheat stooks in some of the fields.

Wheat stooks

It’s not that common, even though the Mennonites avoid a lot of our modern inventions, many of them have embraced all of the latest in farm implements. So in some farm yards you will see a black buggy for family transportation and the latest in farm equipment.

Mennonite transport

You’d think with the acres and acres of corn grown in this part of Ontario there’d be plenty of corn for us to eat. Wrong!

Field corn

All the corn we see as we pass the fields along the roadside is field corn, meant for livestock feed and not very good. We are very fussy corn eaters, so come August begins our search for the perfect sweet corn.

Corn stalks

Corn really has to be eaten the day it is picked; you can have it the next day if you get it into the refrigerator as soon as you get it home. It’s okay, but not quite as good as the first day. We have been told by farmers that once it’s picked, it loses flavor and gets tough and starchy, and if you peel it when you purchase it (to check if it’s fresh) it gets starchy really quickly, so don’t peel it until your ready to put it into the pot.  We would never, never buy corn from a grocery store, who knows how long ago it was picked and it’s often peeled and packaged on plastic trays and wrapped in plastic-gasp!

Sweet corn for sale

We look for a road side stand and always ask when the corn was picked. Although that doesn’t always work because the farmers are getting too trusting and just leave a money box, screwed down to the table, for your payment, some bags and of course the corn.

cash box

If the corn is under cover we will purchase from these stands, but if it is out in the hot sun we drive on by.

road side stand

Found just such a place 10 minutes from home, owned by a budding business man, twelve years of age. He has a sign with a picture of himself, describing the farm where he grows it and includes tips on the best ways to cook it.

Rhys’ cooking instructions

The corn is under a tent so it stays cool and seems to be freshly picked, although we did get one batch that wasn’t so good. The chipmunks enjoyed it, though.

ready for the pot

There are so many ways to cook corn, barbequed,microwaved or steamed, but our favorite is to pop it into a pot of boiling water for 4 minutes only, we don’t like to overcook it. Of course served with lots of butter, salt and pepper. Mmm.

Where’s the butter?

I love it here, where I can enjoy all the seasonal produce like fresh asparagus and strawberries in June, raspberries and peas in July, and corn,tomatoes and peaches in August. Come September we can look forward to apples and pears. Each is best when it is in season and we should enjoy as much as we can while it’s at it’s best. The rest of the year we can make do with cardboard imitations but now is the time to enjoy the bounty of a good summer harvest.

Roadside flowers


5 comments on “August in Corn Country”

  1. Oh how I miss my Ontario Sweet Corn. Going home in October for a visit. Hope there’ll be some left! And thanks for liking my blog too! Roz

  2. Your post reminds me that we haven’t had fresh corn yet this season. It’s Labor Day here in the U.S., which means a 3-day weekend for us. I might just need to go on a search for fresh corn for us. Yum!

  3. Love your look at our shared country living! And you are correct, there is something very distinct about the move from July into August; a new chorus of insects begins and we get excited here in Pennsylvania to see the apples begin to appear. I loved the corn pictures. We measure the passage of time here by the growth of the field corn and once we see those tassles we know summer has turned the curve. One of my blogs a long, long time ago was called “It’s Summertime and the Living is Juicy” and I remember distinctly writing about our fabulous seven-course meals, the first six of which consisted of sweet corn we had just pulled from the garden with the last course being a big, ole’ slice of watermelon! Thanks for the reminder of our good life! Mitchell Kyd

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments, they were greatly appreciated. Read some of your posts and enjoyed them very much, especially the one about your father. My own father is in a downhill slide and it reminded me to think of the man he was and enjoy every moment I have with him now. Look forward to reading more of your posts.
      Ruth from At Home on the Road

  4. It’s fascinating to catch a glimpse of life in all the places you visit. I like the way the colour in the pictures here flowed from soft straw gold through corn green to pure sunshine yellow.

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