Did you know that you are not suppose to shuck corn at a farmers market? It's one of those unwritten rules. As soon as an ear is even partially opened, it begins to go to starch. As a child I remember the Arraber coming around and he would pick the corn for you. Depending upon where you were on his route you either got thirteen good ears of corn or a mix.
That's another thing - whatever happened to a baker's dozen? People seem actually surprised when we give them another ear of corn or put 13 into the bag. That use to be standard operating procedure. When the industrial food complex came into the picture you bought the corn pre-packaged or by the ear. Please don't get me wrong. We are a capitalistic society which is built around the principle of making money. I think it's a wonderful idea but my frustration comes in when I see people cutting corners, ignoring safety, using techniques and tactics that are harmful under the guise of the bottom line. Besides I'm also jealous that I don't make tons of money or even pounds for that matter.
I know that when twelve people buy a dozen we lose a dozen. But we also sell by the ear and I learned long ago the smaller the quantity for sale the greater revenue. Meaning, if 72 people each baught two ears of corn revenue would be greater because the per ear cost is higher. So we look at it as a wash. The goodwill it generates for our customers and then back to us surpases the pain of losing a dozen. In the past six years we've lost more than 90 percent of each year's corn crop due to multiple factors. So we're kind of use to losing corn.
Seven years ago we were selling at a farmers market, and we had corn that was raised organically but was not from organic seed. It wasn't being sold as organic but it was local and it was picked hours before. I was working with a customer when I saw an elderly lady go over to the corn and start to shuck the ears. I looked right and saw my wife looking at her. I kept talking to and taking care of my customer, but I noticed my wife's body language and non-verbal cues change. She was getting agitated.
A minute goes by, I'm trying to finish with my customer but he has questions about cooking. Every so often I take a right peripheral view to see how my wife is doing. At that time, I don't know why, I can't put my finger on it but my wife's reactions are catching my attention. I follow her gaze and see the woman is still shucking her way through the corn.
My customer asked about making a zuchinni recipe, we have adapted from "Chef's Illustrated," and I'm telling him about it and describing the nuances. I feel my wife walking behind me towards the woman shucking corn.
My wife is one of the most intelligent, kindest, caring, level-headed people I've ever met. She is the conotation of grace under fire and who you'd want to be with when trouble strikes. But don't shuck the corn at a famer's market in front of her.
Buy Local- from a farmer not from a chain that advertises "local"
p.s. no one was hurt in the actual events or the retelling of events.