Corn lovers rejoice! MSHS corn is here
Wendy Alexander/the Madera Tribune
Madera South High School FFA members from left, Jocelyn Duarte, Oswaldo Montes, Rogelio Sandoval, and Mathew Machado walk through the cornfield they grew on campus and will be harvesting and selling.
Fresno may have its Fresno State corn, but Madera has its Madera FFA corn and it’s the hottest seller during the hottest month of the year.
Madera South’s FFA crops cooperative students will begin selling its white sweet corn on campus, beginning today at 9 a.m.
“We’re open from 9 until noon or sold out,” said Tim Deniz, Madera South Ag teacher. “Last year. the latest we were open was 11, so it was uncommon for us not to sell out by 9:30 or 10 a.m.”
The corn harvest is a little later than last year, but it’s still at about the same time.
“We usually plan for late season corn because there’s a couple of other people in town that do corn, so we don’t want to be in direct competition with them,” Deniz said. “This is maybe a week later than usual, but it’s about the time of year we do the corn. We should have about three to four weeks of harvest and sales.”
The money raised from the sweet corn sales, in addition to pumpkin sales later in the year, will go back to the students that raised the corn from seedlings to harvest.
“We do have some donated items from Rivulis and Western Irrigation. They helped us by donating irrigation parts,” Deniz said.
The corn sales is the culmination of work that began near the end of the last school year.
“One of the reasons why I started the crops cooperative is I wanted the students to plant the seed and watch it grow,” Deniz said. “In the past, the plot we’re utilizing, we had wine grapes. The kids were involved in harvesting and pruning, but they weren’t able to see it from start to end. It didn’t have the real world impact that this does. This helps to really plant something, nurture and be involved in it from start to finish.”
There are five students — Jocelyn Duarte, Oswaldo Montes, Mathew Machado, Rogelio Sandoval and Andrew Singh — in the cooperative and have been with the corn from the start to the harvest, which they did Friday morning.
“The five kids have been involved with the process from start to finish,” Deniz said. “We started out with more kids, but we lost some because they didn’t anticipate the time commitment. They planted it in June and will be in the project until late October.”
Make sure to get out early to get the corn because there is a little less this year. It’s because Deniz is using some of the plot to grow a winter or cold season crop that is on the same plot as the corn.
“We are trying to get into a rotation so we’re not just sweet corn and pumpkins in the same area,” he said. “We are thinking about leafy greens that can sell easily. There are other chapters that do lettuce, cilantro and crops like that.”
Madera South’s corn is a variety they have been using the last three years — Placer.
“It’s a variety a local seed company (Keithly-Williams Seeds) donated to the kids, along with pumpkin seeds.”
Deniz said the cooperative would like to thank Keithly-Williams Seeds, Rivulus Irrigation, Western Ag Irrigation and Landmark Irrigation for their donations.
Deniz is appreciative of the community support and knows people wait all year for the corn.
“The community support is always amazing,” he said. “It’s something we’ve built up for several years. The first year, the first few days were rocky, but we sold out. Now, we have followers in Facebook and Instagram through FFA and those people are waiting patiently all year long to support these kids. Some of them come every single weekend to come back for more. We have some people come from Coarsegold and Oakhurst to get the sweet corn.”