How sweet it is! First Virginia-grown sweet corn hits the stands

VIRGINIA BEACH—It’s officially summer, and sweet corn season is just getting started.

Cullipher Farm in Virginia Beach has harvested its first sweet corn of the year to sell at the farm’s stand in Pungo. Kim Cullipher said her family has 35 acres planted in sweet corn this year.

“We usually alternate bicolor with white sweet corn, and right now the bicolor is available. It’s usually the first to come in,” she said.

This year is the first time the farm has sheltered 3 acres of sweet corn under plastic row covers so it would mature sooner. The technique “helps to promote growth earlier,” explained Cullipher’s brother, Mike Cullipher.

“It looks like it will be a plentiful year for sweet corn,” Kim said. “By July 4, people will be able to buy it by the bag containing 60 ears. Our customers eat it on the cob or make succotash. Others cut it off the cob to freeze and use in soups and chowders during the winter.”

At the Chesapeake Farmers’ Market, local sweet corn isn’t available yet. It normally comes in by July 4, but a cold, rainy spring has delayed some crops.

“The spring weather was so wet, it was hard to get things planted. … It may be the middle of July before we have an abundant supply,” said Watson Lawrence, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture agent in Chesapeake.

Once the season does get into full swing, Lawrence said, about six vendors will have different varieties of local sweet corn at the Chesapeake market.

Sweet corn is in season across Virginia during July and August. Most of the corn grown in Virginia is feed corn, which is fed to livestock, but there are farmers growing sweet corn throughout the state.

Media: Call the Culliphers at 757-721-7456 or Lawrence at 757-382-6348.  

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