This is positively the most uniquely beautiful corn we have ever laid eyes on! A kaleidoscope of colors parades up and down every petite ear--endless permutations and combinations of the most amazing jewel tones imaginable: amethyst, topaz, peridot, sapphire, ruby. The curious translucence of the rainbow hues causes each tiny kernel to glow as if illuminated from within, and looking for all the world like opalescent beads of glass. Nor is this amazing corn just another pretty face. You can make great popcorn, parched corn or cornmeal with it. That is, if you can bring yourself to eat it!
The remarkable story of 'Glass Gem' corn begins with Carl "White Eagle" Barnes, a visionary collector of Native American corn varieties. Barnes, of Cherokee descent, began growing native corns decades ago as a way of re-connecting with his own native heritage. Somewhere along the way, Barnes obtained a complex cross involving Pawnee miniature popcorns, an Osage red flour corn and another Osage variety called 'Greyhorse.'
Barnes shared the corn with Greg Schoen in 1995. Schoen grew it over the years and, looking for the broadest possible genetic base, additional crossing with traditional varieties was allowed. Hugely variable strains were the result. Schoen eventually isolated one and named it 'Glass Gem' in 2007. (The name happened by accident—Schoen shared a photo of the corn, and titled it "Glass Gems." But the moniker stuck.) Schoen shared several strains with Bill McDorman, then of Seed Trust, and when McDorman joined Native Seeds/SEARCH, he brought the spectacularly colorful corn with him. Photos went up on the Internet, and the corn went viral in 2012.
Since that time the incredible variety has been in huge demand, and we were immediately intrigued. Starting from a small accession of seeds, it can take several years to increase a variety enough to offer it widely. But now, thanks to New Mexico growers Debra Clare and Ron Boyd, we have reached that point, and we are so excited and proud to offer this precious variety to our customers worldwide!