Will Harrington sweet corn be available here this season?
Supply should be steady in August
Friday, August 01, 2014 7:40 AM
A hailstorm lasting just minutes wiped out the first three patches of sweet corn planted by the Harrington family of Nashua.
Harrington sweet corn has been a summer staple in Northeast Iowa for nearly a half century. It typically is sold from July 10 through Labor Day. But three-inch diameter hail June 28 obliterated three stands of the Harringtons’ corn. The family staggers their planting.
In addition to maintaining their own corn stand east of Nashua, the Harringtons normally have eight to 10 trucks taking corn to cities including Decorah, Clear Lake, Cedar Falls, Charles City and Waverly daily. But so far, only three truck loads have left Nashua – one each to Decorah, Charles City and Waverly.
“Our phone is ringing off the hook. The Casey’s on College Drive (in Decorah where Harrington corn is sold) just called,” Robert Harrington, Jr. told Decorah Newspapers Tuesday. “People are calling from every town.”
The Harringtons typically sell corn daily at Casey’s throughout the summer.
“We were there for only a couple of hours (last week) and we sold out,” Harrington said. “We may be up there later this week.”
But Harrington said cooler temperatures have been hampering the development of the rest of the sweet corn crop.
“It’s not maturing real fast – it’s been kind of a double whammy,” Harrington said.
“We’ve never had this happen before. We definitely appreciate all of our customers … we’re trying to get out as much corn as we can -- we really are. There’s just not much to get right now.”
Harrington said their supply should be steady in August and corn will be sold through the middle of September.
The hailstorm occurred when Harrington’s corn was tassling – the worst possible time, according to Harrington.
“We grow the best-tasting sweet corns and they are the hardest to grow by far. Other varieties might have survived a storm like this, but the taste just isn’t there,” he said.
“There really is no crop insurance on sweet corn – the hail coverage was minimal,” Harrington said.
The hailstorm affected many people who work for the Harringtons – high school and college students and retired people.
“What’s frustrating is it (the corn) was so close. The corn was looking good – we were really close to hitting a double and we got thrown out,” he said.
The taste of the corn being picked right now is “outstanding,” said Harrington, who is perpetually asked if he’s “the Harrington that sells sweet corn.”
“It’s going to be a couple of weeks yet before we get any kind of volume,” he said.
Harrington enjoys the family business started by his father, Robert Harrington Sr., especially when things are going well.
“It’s very rewarding when everything is clicking. It’s very fussy. It’s picked daily so it’s fresh. We pride ourselves on our quality and customer base. If I didn’t like doing it, I wouldn’t be doing it. It’s a lot of hard work,” he said.
“We have a lot of loyal customers in Decorah.”