We believe that it is very important to understand the difference between the conventional sweet corn you can buy now at local markets or roadside stands and the certified organic sweet corn which we and other certified organic farmers grow. The methods used to grow these crops are entirely different.
Conventional Sweet Corn:
In conventional growing, before planting, the ground is treated with a chemical herbicide (such as Round-Up) to kill all weeds and other unwanted vegetation. Then huge amounts of chemical fertilizer (like ammonia nitrate at a rate of nearly 100 lbs./acre) and anhydrous ammonia gas (knifed into soil) is added to the plot.
The corn variety selected for conventional corn planting may be a GMO because it will out-produce any other variety.
Some corn varieties are Round-Up ready which means that they can be planted at the same time that round-up is applied to the field so that the weeds in the field die, but the corn survives.
In order to get an very early crop, the corn seed itself is treated with a chemical fungicide and more chemical fertilizer in order to prevent the seed from rotting in the cold soils in which it is planted and to encourage early germination.
As the crops starts to mature when the ears are forming, the fields are typically sprayed (perhaps several times) with a chemical pesticide (like Malathion or even worse) to kill the corn borer. This farming method produces huge quantities of sweet corn which can be sold at a reasonable price while still affording the producer a fair return.
Certified Organic Sweet Corn
In organic farming, we start with certified organic seed which, when we can find it, is many times the cost of conventional corn seed. Our sweet corn is also guaranteed to to be GMO-FREE.
We also buy seed which is not treated with a chemical fungicide. Because corn only germinates in warm soils, we must plant our corn later than conventional farmers which is why our sweet corn crop is always later (August).
In order to feed our corn crop, we add composted manure to our field after planting in order to give our corn the extra nutrients it needs for successful growing.
In order to control weeds, we plant our corn seed in raised beds covered with biodegradable corn starch mulchand we weed-by-hand our plots of sweet corn.
To control pests, we throw out corn badly damaged or cut off damaged ends after harvest.
To control raccoons, we over plant for their feast and run electric fences around of sweet corn plantings to deter them from entering our fields!
This is a huge difference in production methods which shows not only in the taste of our certified organic sweet corn versus conventional, but also the health of our customers and their families.
-This blog was originally posted on Bryson Farms’ blog, http://www.brysonfarms.com/why-certified-organic-sweet-corn-costs-more/