Where's All of the Iowa Sweet Corn?

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – There's something missing from the table as families enjoy their summer grilling -- sweet corn.

By the 4th of July, farmers are typically plucking it from the fields to serve up to hungry Iowans.

The music was playing and the money was flowing at the Cedar Rapids Farmers' Market on Saturday morning. All seemed well, but customers could not find an ear of sweet corn among the vendors.

Farmers and Agronomists say Iowa fields are about two to three weeks behind this sweet corn season. By now, customers can usually get their hands on sweet corn for the whole family at the market. Instead farmers, like Peter Schulte from Strawberry Point, only have produce like zucchinis and lettuce.

"I've had a lot of people just come up and ask for corn and just turn right back around if we don't have it," Schulte said.

Peter planted ten acres of sweet corn this year. He said it's a big cash crop for his family farm. He expects the first of it to be ready in about two weeks.

"It's delayed because of the lack of growing degrees, the lack of heat during the day time and the night time. It has been so cool that it won't grow, basically," Schulte said.

John Beal from Monticello is also left selling other vegetables at the farmers market until his sweet corn is ready. He estimates his will be ready in about three weeks.

"There's always people looking for sweet corn, but you've just got to be patient until it gets ready," Beal said.

Farmers say the corn seems even later this year because the crop was ready a few weeks earlier than normal last year. Still, with plenty of rain and some of warm summer days farmers say it's a crop worth waiting for.

"It's Iowa. You've gotta eat sweet corn. That's what you come to Iowa for," Schulte said.

Farmers noted that they appreciate that they don't have to irrigate their sweet corn fields this year. Many were forced to water their crops to save them during the drought last year.
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