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(Zea mays) The quintessential Native American crop, corn was a staple of indigenous peoples from South America to the Great Lakes. It’s believed to have been domesticated in Mexico, and it may be of the world’s oldest agricultural crops. It’s best seeded directly into the garden, 1-2 inches deep, in good, rich, well-drained soil, right about the time of the last spring frost. Plant it in blocks rather than long narrow rows to improve pollination. Whether planted in rows or beds, allow an average of one square foot per plant. Corn can be very drought tolerant, but ears fill best when there is good soil moisture as the tassels and silk are first emerging, and when dry conditions are not allowed to prevail at tasseling time. Harvest sweet corn when the kernels are full of milky-colored juice; allow other types to remain on the stalks until fully dry. All types of heirloom corn are grown the same way. Sweet corn is picked when milky juice is contained within the kernels; clear juice indicates immaturity, and chewiness means the ear is over-mature. Ears of flour corn should be left on the plant until thoroughly dry in the fall.
Montana Lavender Clay Corn
A stunning lavender colored flour corn with long slender 8-12 inch long ears in an attractive pastel shade that produces silky, soft cornmeal. This vigorous and early producing corn was bred by Ed Schutlz of Montana. Ed has made a name for himself as an expert corn breeder with great knowledge and respect for the Native American corn varieties that he loves to works with. One look at the unmistakable lavender kernels shows that this blended Native American variety is descended from the lavender parching corn of the Mandan tribe. In 1808, Thomas Jefferson received seeds of a lavender colored, Mandan Red Clay corn; he reported that the seeds were given to him by Lewis and Clark from their 1804 contact with the Mandan tribe in present day North Dakota. Schultz has taken the lovely lavender-clay color and rugged cold hardiness of Mandan corn while making for more slender and uniform ears and short, stout plants. A stellar feat of breeding from a solid foundation of superlative ancient genetics.
Astronomy Domine Corn
Early to mid-season (65 -70 days). This multi-colored sweet corn may be the most beautiful corn in the galaxy! Old-fashioned sweet corn flavor and a mix of vivid colors give this variety a burst of complex flavors and antioxidants on ears that will develop an amazing display of colors early at milk stage. This nutrient-dense strain was selected in the Great Basin of Utah by Joseph Lofthouse, from the original landrace created by Alan Bishop at his farm in southern Indiana. Bishop crossed several sweet corn cultivars and mass selected for color and flavor. This robust, easy-to grow-strain has a consistent early mid-season maturity, making it suitable for environments with a shorter growing season.
Japanese Black Sticky Corn
Japanese black sticky corn is a delectable sweet, waxy textured corn used to make mochi or eaten fresh as a sweet treat in Japan. The “sticky” quality of this corn is thanks to a natural mutation. This inky black variety can be harvested immature, when the kernels start to turn light purple. The ears are best steamed or grilled for a subtly sweet flavor. Across Asia you will find roadside vendors tending baskets brimming with steamed sticky corn. Plants produce tall vigorous stalks up to 6.5 feet, averaging one to two ears 7-9 inches long with 12 to 15 rows of beautiful, glossy black kernels at full maturity. The origin and history of sticky corn are steeped in mystery and ensnared in historical debate. This Japanese strain was originally selected from seeds brought from China around the year 1800. It is widely believed that corn was introduced to China from its native range in the Americas by Portuguese traders in the 1520s. But some historians suggest that the unusually early presence of sticky corn in China means that the crop had taken root there nearly 100 years before Columbus. These researchers believe that Chinese traders acquired corn on an expedition to Peru in the early 1400s. Ears of corn also appear to be depicted on ancient temples in India, leading some world experts to believe that Asia had discovered the Americas, long before dark-age Europe had. It has been widely debated, however, as it challenges centuries of Eurocentric historical record.
Papa's Blue Corn
Grow gobs of gourmet corn, even in the far north! This early-maturing, handsome blue flour corn makes for supreme baked goods, from cornbreads to tortillas. Uniform 8- to 12-inch ears produce beautiful shades of blue. Bred to tolerate Montana’s cool summers and scanty rainfall, the compact, 4-foot-tall plants take heat, cool weather and drought in stride. This dazzling blue variety was bred by Ed Schultz, who has been experimenting and creating fantastic corn since the 1980s. Schultz has used the rugged and beautiful old varieties of his region in Montana to create fantastic new heirlooms, and this decorative, delicious new flour corn is sure to please in most areas of the country!
Mini Blue Popcorn
The cute, shiny blue ears are decorative, delicious and colored in uniform indigo or colonial blue, quite unlike the deep purple of some varieties. The ears are a petite 2 to 4 inches long, but the 6- to 7-foot plants often yield three and even four ears per stalk. Try growing these for a blue accent in arranging!
True Gold Corn
Big Horse Spotted Corn
A stunningly beautiful corn from the great Osage people! Six to7-inch long ears bear rounded, solid kernels that are bluish-black speckled in white; white speckled in blue; orange speckled in blue; or orange speckled in black. It is perfect for grinding into flour and meal. This variety is endangered and hard to find.
Golden Bantam 12-Row Corn
Released in 1922 by the Clark Seed Company of Milford, Connecticut. Although developed from the original Golden Bantam, this is definitely an improved type — larger ears mean higher yields, and the golden yellow corn stays tender longer. Equally suitable for freezing and fresh eating, this variety was the standard for home and market gardeners for decades.
75 days. Early season sweet corn that yields well in cool climates, Dorinny was originally a Canadian cross between Golden Bantam and Pickaninny. Received a Market Gardeners’ Award of Merit in 1936. Reliable even where soils are cool. Yellow kernels on 6- to 7-inch cobs offer old-fashioned sweet corn flavor. Plants reach 4-5 feet in height and usually yield two ears per plant. Grown in northern Maine by our friend, activist-farmer Jim Gerritsen.
Oaxacan Green Corn
85-100 days. The stunningly beautiful ears come in a range of greens, from yellow-green through emerald, with every imaginable shade in between. The deeply dented kernels have been used for centuries by the Zapotec people to make a regional favorite, green-flour tamales. Also makes excellent cornbread! The 6- to 10-inch ears are superb in arrangements and for fall decoration. Plants reach 7 feet, are very drought tolerant, and perform well even at higher latitudes. Amazing and cool!
Atomic Orange Corn
60 to 80 days. Exceptionally high in both protein and beta carotene, the amazingly nutritious and totally delicious orange ears are produced very early. This variety ranked high on the list of most protein-rich heirloom corns in a study done by Baker Creek in 2018. Research shows that beta carotene is essential for vision health. We are thrilled to offer this stunning, open-pollinated variety from the gifted corn breeder Ed Schultz of Bozeman, Montana. He spent 30 years developing this fantastic soft flint corn. It sports a range of orange color, from brilliant sunburst orange to pumpkin and russet; even the cobs are orange! For an added surprise, it will throw an occasional all-white ear. Three to five foot-tall stalks produce 1 to 2 ten-inch ears with 8 rows of kernels in about 60 days.
Bloody Butcher Dent Corn
A very beautiful, commonly crimson red dent variety introduced to the settlers in the Virginia area in the 1840s. Eight- to 12-foot tall stalks produce large, heavy, 8- to 12-inch long ears of solid red kernels that vary in hue. Occasional red and white kernels and ears may appear, but this is typical. It is known for its delicious, rich, sweet flavor when ground into meal and flour. Maturity is 100 to 120 days for dry ears. We are excited to find this GMO-free strain, as most Bloody Butcher seems to be crossed with modern GMO corn types.
Country Gentleman Sweet Corn
Buhl Sweet Corn
Po'suwaegeh Blue Corn
110 days. This Native American heirloom corn from Pueblo Pojoaque (pronounced P ō ‘hwä k a) in northern New Mexico, is traditionally grown to make blue corn atole. Po’suwaegeh is the Tewa name for “Place where there is abundant water.” There is actually such a place, about 20 miles north of Santa Fe, in a valley running into the Rio Grande, where an ancient pueblo, which had almost disappeared, found its place of rebirth. Growing Po’suwaegeh Blue corn played a pivotal role in the revival of this community. The Pueblo at Pojoaque and Baker Creek Seeds are proud to share this treasure with gardeners and farmers. Strong and tall stalks bear 10 to 12 inch ears with deep blue kernels. If you like the idea of growing Baker Creek’s Oaxacan Green dent corn, then including Po’suwaegeh Blue corn in your order is a must!
Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn
This is among the oldest sweet corn still in production, predating 1849. It remains a favorite of many, producing tasty white kernels. The plants used to be pulled up when completely ripe, and hung upside down in a cool pantry; the ears would last well into the winter, in a semi-fresh state. In 1873, the seeds sold for 25 cents per pint.
Wade's Giant Indian Flint Corn
This is the best Indian flint corn we have found. The huge ears are about 12 inches long and very thick and heavy! This beauty comes in a whole range of lovely hues from yellow, blue and red to orange, white, purple and more. This one is perfect for stunning autumn displays and for selling at market, as well as producing lots of corn for meal or feed. We were really excited to find this beautiful corn that was carefully selected for giant size and superior quality by Wade Nursery of Macomb, Michigan.
This incredible flint/popcorn may be the oldest corn variety grown in North America: carbon dating says it could be 4,000 years old! Long, slim ears are filled with kernels of luminous amber to dark brown. Drought and heat tolerant, Chapalote is adapted to southerly latitudes, and its performance farther north is unknown. Chapalote can be popped or used in pinole, polenta, and many other corn dishes, as the meal is delightfully sweet. It was rediscovered in the 1950s in remote, northwestern Mexico. Since that time, its superior qualities have captured the imagination and affection of archaeologists, gardeners and chefs alike!
Striped Japonica Corn
85 days. The World’s Most Beautiful Corn Plant! Invite this vibrant ornamental flint corn into your edible landscape design and you won’t regret it. Plants reach 6 feet in height; foliage develops a brilliant, multi-colored striping in green, white, pink and yellow. Some stalks will be mostly all green; others will be striped with all four colors. It has wine-colored tassels and crimson-black kernels, adding a tropical touch to borders or container plantings. The sturdy stalks make a fantastic trellis for climbing ornamentals like sweet pea. When dried, the kernels grind into a tasty meal. This variety was bred in Japan and was introduced to America in the 1870s. During this period, called the Meiji period, corn was just becoming a popular staple in the Japanese diet, despite the fact that the crop had been introduced to the country centuries prior. Native American flint corn was first brought to Japan by the Portuguese in the 1500s; at the time, flint corn was considered primarily a fodder crop for livestock. During the Edo period in Japan (1603-1867), officials of the centralized government (who were mostly vegetarian due to religious reasons) discouraged the consumption of meat and the need for corn to feed livestock plummeted, relegating the newly introduced corn crop to relative obscurity. With the Meiji period (1868-1912), meat was reintroduced to the Japanese diet, and the need for corn as fodder rose. Along the way, it was discovered that corn could be a tasty crop for humans as well. Striped Japonica was developed during this resurgence of interest in corn in Japan. We have worked for years to find a pure strain, as most of what is offered on the market was badly contaminated with GMO corn, but after much effort, we present to you a strain that tested Non-GMO! Please enjoy this stunning treasure from historic Japan!
Dakota Ivory Corn
The kernels of this ivory-colored flour corn are plump and surprisingly sweet. Harvested at the right time, this early variety makes a fair sweet corn, but it really shines in cornbread, polenta, and more. Bred in North Dakota from Native American stock, our seed is grown in Aroostook County in the far north of Maine, so you know it is a great choice for short season climates. 4- to 6-foot plants make 1-2 ears each. Exceptional earliness combined with superior seedling vigor in cold soils.
Cochiti Pueblo Corn
A colorful popcorn from the Cochiti Pueblo people of northern New Mexico. This beautiful popcorn has been listed as a disappearing food in the Renewing America’s Food Traditions by Gary Paul Nabhan. The Pueblo people have been known as expert farmers since time immemorial, and popcorn is a favorite pueblo food. Husking the thick, 6-7 inch ears is like unwrapping a little present; each one is colorful and unique. 6-10 foot tall plants.
Maiz Morado or Kulli Corn
The darkest colored corn known, it has a most delicious flavor and is believed to have one of the highest amounts of anthocyanins of any corn! The ancient Maiz Morado, also known as Kulli, originated in the Andes highlands of Peru. This is a special selection that has been bred for the past 20+ years in New Mexico to adapt to our North American latitudes and will grow and produce ears easily in most American gardens. This ancient corn is excellent as a flour corn or, picked young, as a flavorful sweet corn. It is also used in South America to brew a special and highly revered drink known as chicha morado. This drink had important ceremonial significance to the Incan Empire and civilizations before it. We love to make purple corn juice with cinnamon, clove and pineapple -- a refreshing elixir bursting with antioxidants! Locals also use it to dye fabrics and cloth, and grind it into a beautiful flour/meal. as well. Grows to 8 feet or taller and takes 100 days or so to mature.
Bronze Orange Corn
A super high-protein dent corn with phenomenal flavor and blazing color! Bronze orange was shown to contain 50 percent more protein than standard GMO corn samples in a study conducted by Baker Creek. The beta carotene in orange-colored corn has recently been recognized as a tool to fight nutrient deficiency-related childhood blindness and vision. Dwarf stalks are only 3 ½ feet high. Despite its small stature, it produces up to 5 ears per stalk! Makes choice roasting ears at the milk stage (although not exactly a sweet corn), or allow the burnt-orange kernels to develop completely for a superior flour type. Originally introduced by Dr. Alan Kapuler in the 1980s.
Montana Cudu Corn
A beautiful spotted variety that is descended from a historic Native American variety. Ed Schultz, renowned corn breeder from Montana, has worked to adapt a blended corn as a tribute to a sacred Native American variety. Cudu corn is said to be an ancient native American variety used for sacred ritual. A sample of seeds was donated to the USDA seed bank by Oscar Will in 1958. The original donated seed may have been accidentally inbred or crossed, as the cobs were stunted and short, and kernels had begun to lose their signature blue eagle marking. Ed is a far northern grower who has worked to create beautiful and early-maturing corns like Atomic Orange and the Papa’s corn. He received a sample of seeds from the USDA and has worked for over five years to adapt it to his northern region and to create longer cobs. He reports that this variety has long, slender ears and beautiful blue-spotted kernels. To achieve this variety, he bred true Cudu corn with a small percentage of Papa’s White corn.
Painted Mountain Corn
This corn is the very definition of rugged beauty! These incredibly tough plants were bred in the bitter cold mountains of Montana. They boast impressive cold hardiness, earliness, drought tolerance, and they thrive at high altitudes. Montana farmer Dave Christensen has dedicated his life’s work to naturally breeding a corn that will thrive in harsh conditions, and since the 1970s has sampled from over 70 open-pollinated varieties of corn to create Painted Mountain corn. These are old heirlooms grown by northern Native American tribes over thousands of years, as well as homesteaders from harsh northern climates. The bright color of the kernels indicate a high nutrient content, making it an excellent corn for decoration or for eating! Painted Mountain corn can be eaten fresh, ground, or roasted, and it makes a highly nutritious flour for muffins, johnny cakes, tortillas and chips!
Hopi Pink Flour Corn
A truly lovely native variety that has kernels in shades of pink, mauve and salmon on 8-inch ears. Drought tolerant and great for making flour, it is one of the best varieties for farming in dry conditions. This is a rare variety that was bred by the Hopi nation. Their incredible work has produced one of the toughest and most beautiful flour corns available! Flour is impressively high in protein, and the fine texture lends itself to super soft tortillas and tamales.
Fisher's Earliest Sweet Corn
Developed and selected 60 years ago by Ken Fisher of Belgrade, Montana, to grow in the cool and harsh conditions of the state, this sweet corn is sure to please almost anywhere! Vigorous, multi-colored 5- to 6-foot stalks bear one ear per plant and have 10-12 rows with a golden hue. The ears have an excellent fill to the tip and husk coverage.
Hopi Turquoise Corn
Truly breathtaking blue corn said to originate from the Hopi people of the Southwest. This variety yields lovely ears with colors ranging from slate blue to brilliant turquoise with some surprise purples. Used locally in atole and ground for cornmeal, kernels are both flour and dent types, both often bearing on the same ear. Ears typically run 6 to 12 inches long, and are produced usually one per 4-to 5-foot stalk. It has grown well even at 8,000 feet elevation, indicating tolerance to wide temperature swings and cool soil. Fairly early to mature, it is ready for harvest at about 90 days from sowing. Our grower received his original seed in 1986 from John “Eesawu” Kimmey, an educator and visionary of sustainable Native agriculture who worked extensively with the Hopi people and founded the Talavaya Center, an early heirloom conservation project.