Corn crops should be ready for Fourth of July after long winter

07/02/2015 2:39 PM |
On Thursday, Scott DuBois at Breeze Hill Farm was selling corn he purchased from Georgia, but by Friday or Saturday, he will begin selling his own corn — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

On Thursday, Scott DuBois at Breeze Hill Farm was selling corn he purchased from Georgia, but by Friday or Saturday, he will begin selling his own corn — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)

Fret not, barbecue lovers of the North Fork: you should be able to enjoy local corn during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

Despite a brutal winter and a somewhat rainy June, several local farms said they have already begun harvesting corn — and they’re anticipating plenty of demand over the next few days.

“We just pulled some [Thursday] morning and it’s looking very good,” said Herbert Barron, an attendant at Wesnofske Farm in Peconic. “They look very good despite the rough winter. Actually, they look better than last year, in my opinion … For early stuff, it’s quite large.”

Scott DuBois, manager of Breeze Hill Farm in Peconic, said corn requires hot and dry weather for the best and quickest yield.

“The wet weather we had stalled [the corn],” he said.

The National Weather Service station in Upton recorded 4.2 inches of rain in June, almost twice as much as the 2.32 inches recorded in June 2014.

But that amount is just below the historical average rainfall for June, based on measurements at the weather station in Islip — the closest station where 30-year averages are recorded. According to that data, the average rainfall for the month is 4.37 inches.

The temperature this June was also slightly lower than last year; Upton’s average daytime temperature was 74 degrees in 2015, down from 76.5 degrees in 2014.

Mr. DuBois said his own corn should be ready either Friday or Saturday — just in time for the holiday — and in the meantime, he is selling some from out-of-state due to high demand.

“That’s why I had to buy some Georgia corn,” he said. “Without a doubt, everyone wants it for barbecues.”

Farther west, Jeff Rottkamp Sr. at Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm in Calverton began harvesting his corn Thursday.

“We’re happy to get some and happy to enjoy it,” he said. “Luckily enough, we made it. After the challenges with weather and cold, we’re fortunate enough to have crops come in.”

Some farms will not have their own corn ready for the holiday, however. Eve Kaplan at Garden of Eve in Aquebogue said she doubts harvesting corn in time for this weekend.

“I don’t think ours is [ready],” she said. “It’s been pretty cool at night.”

Deb Schmitt of Schmitt’s Family Farm in Riverhead said she is a week or two away from selling her own corn, though she doesn’t think that’s unusual.

“That’s probably pretty standard,” she said. “Some of the farmers start with plastic covers, but we don’t, so we’re usually a little bit later than the rest.”

To accommodate numerous requests for corn during the long weekend, she will sell a combination of corn from other local farms and corn from different states.

And that demand is something almost every farm anticipates. Most said the upcoming weekend will be one of the busiest of the year for corn.

“Nothing says Fourth of July like a first helping of corn,” Mr. Barron said.

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