Why Olathe Sweet Corn isn't all yellow and 4 other interesting facts

Posted at 3:37 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 17:48:34-04

DENVER — Summer means long hikes, trips to the pool and the return of Olathe Sweet Corn, among other Colorado favorites. Some question the legitimacy of the corncobs when they first see them in stores, however Olathe farmers gave Denver7 some tips to help spot and understand the real deal.

In 2017, you won't find a single purely yellow corncob, unless you find some odd mutation. According to experts with the Tuxedo Corn Company, which is owned by the trademark holder of Olathe Sweet Corn, they are only producing bi-color varieties alongside a smaller yield of pure-white variety. 

Flavor is the largest telling factor for proving legitimacy, along with location of where you find the corn. Kroger stores, including King Soopers locations, are some of the largest sellers of Olathe Sweet Corn due to agreements by farmers to sell either most or all of their yields to the grocery store chain. 

Check out the 4 things you should know about Colorado's beloved Olathe Sweet Corn: 

1.) Farmers have the option to pick between eight and 10 varieties of Olathe Sweet Corn to grow, some of which is bi-color, pure yellow and pure white.

"Some areas in the south really like the white varieties. Honestly, the varieties that produce the best, that are the most reliable to grow, are bi-color." 

2.) Ancestor who created the Olathe Sweet Corn strains searched Colorado for ancient corn varieties. 

The corn has ancient roots and the family responsible for creating the sweet corn searched for varieties that were sweet to the taste. According to Tuxedo Corn Company officials, the seeds in use today are seeds that were cross-bred between multiple ancient corn species.

3.) Kroger inks deals with farmers frequently

Although news hasn't broken on a deal in some time, Kroger frequently purchases most or all of the Olathe Sweet Corn stock, which can amount to about 30 million ears of corn. 

4.) Demand fuels what corn varieties are produced

The key for how farmers decide which of their varieties to grow is a demand. One operations manager for the Tuxedo Corn Company said different regions have special requests, and farmers attempt to meet those requests by growing more or less of certain varieties.

In 2017, no pure-yellow corn was grown due to low demand.