Super sweet Chilliwack corn season is in full swing

Despite rainy, cold conditions this spring, there are boatloads of fresh corn daily at all the Sparkes Corn Barn locations around town.

Henry Searle from Portsmouth

Henry Searle from Portsmouth

Get the butter ready and put the water on to boil.

The Chilliwack corn season is in full swing.

Despite rainy, cold conditions this spring, there are boatloads of fresh corn available daily at all the Sparkes Corn Barn locations around town.

“Freshness, maturity and variety are the key elements to good corn,” said Ian Sparkes, owner of Sparkes Corn Barns.

It’s become a delicious summer ritual for corn aficionados to pick up a bag or two of the early Peaches and Cream variety or later in the season, the Triplesweet Jubliee.

“The best thing I can do is make it as fresh as possible,” he said.

Done right it’s always sweet, crunchy and satisfying.

The number one question he gets about his corn is whether it’s genetically modified or not.

The answer is no.

“I don’t grow GMO corn and I won’t,” he said. “So many of our customers are concerned about it. I don’t need to grow it.”

The yellow and green corn barns started showing up in the upper Fraser Valley in 1997, after Sparkes took over the business from the Mitchells. He started selling locally grown corn from the handy drive-thru stands, with a smaller wholesale and bulk division.

Freshness is everything in the corn business.

“The minute you pick a cob of corn, the sugar starts to turn to starch. So the old joke goes you start your water boiling before you go pick the corn.”

And never over-cook it. There’s no reason to boil it more than 4 or 5 minutes.

“You don’t want to stew it. If it doesn’t taste good raw, it won’t taste good cooked.”

The Sparkes corn business grew from one corn barn location at first, up to 12, in Chilliwack, Agassiz and Abbotsford. There’s a new one at Surrey Memorial that opened last week.

But Sparkes has no plans to take over the entire Fraser Valley.

His first field had a poor yield because of the wet and cool spring.

“But after the first one, the yields are over twice the normal rate,” he said.

He’s got a killer crop.

“Now I’m hoping for a big month.”

Check out all the locations, along with some recipes at chilliwackcorn.com

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno