Isanti County resident, local historian
It’s sweet corn time.
I just bought some that was grown locally. The price was $.40 an ear, which works out to $4.80 a dozen. I was reminded of how it was in the past.
My dad used to plant an acre of Yellow Bantam sweet corn that produced ears that were about two-thirds the size of the ears we see today.
Today, there are multiple varieties of sweet corn that have differing maturity dates that prolong the sweet corn season.
When our acre of sweet corn was ready to harvest, we supplied Olsens Store in Isanti, and Russ Elofsons Fairway Market in Cambridge with fresh sweet corn. We also sold the crop in another way.
My dad had a 1937 Chrysler Royal four-door sedan. If the back seat was removed, it was possible to load the back and trunk with some 100 dozen ears of corn. This was done late in the afternoon.
The next day after the morning chores had been attended to, my dad, my brother and I would head off to Minneapolis. The trip was much simpler then.
The so-called Metro Area didn’t start until you reached 40th and Central. Of course MN Hwy. 65 was only two lanes and the first stop and go light was at 40th and Central.
We would usually continue down to Central and Lowry, and then look for a residential area on either side of Central.
After parking the car my dad and I would load up shoulder packs with ears of corn—maybe four dozen. My dad would take one side of the street, while I took the other. We would then go door to door peddling our wares. The price was $.10 a dozen or three-dozen for a $.25.
While we were going door to door, my brother would keep watch over the car. We usually sold out in something like an hour and a half. For our efforts the total take was somewhat near $10.
After all of the corn had been sold, our reward was a visit to the Band Box on Central Avenue where hamburgers were three for a dime. Then it was back to the farm to wait for more of the ears to ripen.
Today when I buy sweet corn—I mutter, “three-dozen for a quarter.” Times do change don’t they?
This originally appeared in the Isanti County News on Aug. 4, 2010.