MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Buy Local: Sweet Corn, Cherries and More Have Arrived!

Sweet corn, cherries, red raspberries and early blueberries that are grown locally are coming into season, so buyers can expect to start buying local produce.

Some farms in the Rochester area either are currently or will soon be picking early varieties of fresh market sweet corn. Harvest is expected to increase significantly during the week of July 16. Historically, the season runs from July 4 until hard frost in late September or early October, but sweet corn got off to a late start due to an early spring that was wet followed by very dry conditions that slowed the germination rate on many varieties. Some periods of tight supply are expected this month; however, as the season progresses, the supply of sweet corn should even out and become more widely available.

Sweet corn is planted in three stages – early, mid-season and late – and fall into one of three types, standard, sugar-enhanced and super sweet. Early varieties are smaller in ear and plant size than mid- and late-season varieties, which usually have large ear and plant size. Rochester markets predominantly sell bicolor (yellow and white) sweet corn.

By end of season, it is expected that an average yield of 800 to 1,000 dozen ears per acre (and a weight range 3.5 to 7 tons per acre) will be produced. The counties of Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne comprise the largest region in New York state for production at 20,207 acres. Of that, 70 percent is grown for processing; the remainder is destined for fresh market.

Unlike sweet corn, this year’s season for small fruit was advanced by several days because of the hot and dry conditions during the late spring and early summer.

Sweet cherries are now being harvested and fruit quality has been good to excellent across the region. Tart cherries are soon to be harvested in some areas around Lake Ontario. Summer red raspberries and early blueberries also are being picked on several area farms with black raspberries soon to come.

Bob King
Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute