Strong start for sweet corn season

Published on LancasterOnline and in print (front page) on July 2.

A soggy spring that ruined the cherry crops this year is proving to be a blessing for Lancaster County’s sweet corn farmers.

With the sweet corn season kicking off, farmers say they are seeing an excellent crop this year.

While some farmers are already selling their corn, county residents can expect to see sweet corn stands in different parts of the county by the Fourth of July.

The season typically lasts until the end of September.

Farms that planted crops in early April of sweet corn are getting ready for an early July harvest. In April, some farmers were worried because of an unusual snowstorm that dumped about 3 inches of snow, and a few nights in mid-April when the temperature fell well below the freezing point.

One farm that took advantage of early planting was Brook Lawn Farm Market, on 2325 Lititz Pike.

“We’ve been picking corn since (last) Saturday,” said Diana Erb, assistant manager at Brook Lawn. “It’s looking very good.”

The rainy spring worried many farmers, but several farms are reporting good, healthy crops.

“When it was cold and wet and rainy, it slowed down the growing process,” Erb said. “Now that it’s been getting hot and humid … (the crops) really are doing well.”

Brook Lawn expects to have sweet corn into October, Erb said.

Manheim-based Creekside Farm Market also planted its sweet corn crops in early April. Josh Heller, an owner of the market, said his corn was ready at the start of the season.

“The clouds and rain held things back … we lost a little bit of sweet corn,” said Heller. “(But) things are growing well; it’s looking to be a good season.”

Sweet corn grows best when temperatures stay between 60 and 90 degrees, according to horticulture experts. Temperatures in the county were well within that range during June.

The harvest is looking bountiful for even those who did not plant early-season sweet corn crops. Brecknock Orchard’s sweet corn is not yet ready to sell, but should be available by mid-July.

“We’ll have a good season,” said Daryl Martin, owner of Brecknock Orchard, in Mohnton. “We have a nice crop of sweet corn.”

Dennis Hess, owner of Hess’s Produce Stand, said his crops appear healthy.

“My crops are looking great; we’ve had good moisture,” Hess said, noting growing conditions seemed ideal because of the temperature and humidity.

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