It was somewhere near the end of my second helping and approaching thirds when it dawned on me the peculiarity of the situation: we had come simply to tour farmer Rick’s corn field, but here we were, a couple hours later, seated at his childhood dinner table enjoying a tranquil, home-cooked lunch among which the easy-company of his parents, aunt and uncle.
Whoever said hospitality is dead has clearly never met the Kohut family.
Located a few kilometers east of Didsbury, the Kohut farm is a model in old-fashioned hospitality. Soft, undulating hills scattered pleasantly with crabapple trees and tall sycamores; it’s not just the country’s best sweet corn that’s grown here, but barley, cattle and some sheep too.
Rick is an eager and gracious host, and his passion for natural, pesticide-free produce is quickly evident: as we chomp on freshly-dug purple carrots from the family garden, he shares the story of how his start in corporate agribusiness and conventional farming led to his pursuit of more natural farming methods and holistic nutrition – even opening his own health food store in the town of Olds.
And of course, growing corn. And not just any corn, the sweetest, pluck-it-right-off-the-stalk and eat-it-right-there-and-then corn you’ll ever come across.
It’s a small operation, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it piece of land less than a hundredth of the size of some of the bigger players down around Taber. And that’s no accident.
Rick’s corn stalks are a sensitive bunch. They’re incredibly specialized varieties, and each stalk, yielding on average less than two ears of corn, must be shown the utmost care.
Luckily, for those that know Rick, he shows his corn as much care and gratitude as he does his guests. Each ear is routinely checked before being picked by hand and delivered, often by Rick himself, to our markets within a day.
It’s the only corn of its kind that you’ll find around these parts, grown in an area that isn’t typical for corn because of the short growing season and cool nights. It’s fungicide and insecticide free, and ripened close to freezing temperatures at night, which locks in those sugars, giving it that impossible sweetness which has made Kohut corn a household name around here.
Respect for the land is at the core of Rick’s growing philosophy, a commitment which is embodied in his naturally delicious and deliciously natural sweet corn. When you taste a hand-picked cob of Kohut corn, it’s a taste cultivated by a love for the soil and the southern Alberta sunshine in which it was grown – a taste we believe in.
Try one on the cob and you’ll soon see why. That is, if you’re not already moving on to seconds, or thirds.