Maybe you think of Colorado as ski country. But this time of year, I think of it as sweet corn country. That’s because some of the best sweet corn you can buy is Olathe Sweet corn, grown just north of the San Juan Mountains in western Colorado.
On sale this week in our produce departments, Olathe sweet corn really is special. The tender kernels have an intense corn flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. And it also comes into peak season at a great time – from now through about Labor Day, just when other prime sweet-corn crops are starting to taper off.
That’s because of where it’s grown. Most years, the Colorado corn fields that produce Olathe corn receive ideal growing conditions. The ears thrive because they get plenty of water (some of it from pure melted snow), lots of bright sunshine, and moderate temperatures, into the low 90s during the day but dipping into the 60s at night.
Growers also treat this corn with kid gloves. Olathe corn is usually hand-picked, then rushed to a cooling plant right where the ears are cooled with ice so that cobs reach a temperature of 38 degrees. This keeps the sugar content high and the taste super-fresh. From there, it’s loaded directly onto trucks bound for markets. Corn is often on the road just two hours after being plucked from the field.
Olathe corn should be selected, stored and cooked just like any other fresh sweet corn. If you’re selecting husk-on corn, choose those with bright green, moist husks and dark, moist silks. Refrigerate the corn immediately after purchase to maintain sweetness, and don’t shuck it until right before cooking.
For best flavor, Olathe producers recommend you eat this corn within three days of purchase. I suspect once you try it, that won’t be a problem at your house.