Olathe corn sweeter than ever despite Colorado drought

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Sixty-two of Colorado’s 64 counties qualify for federal disaster relief because of drought conditions, and many are wondering if our Western Slope summer corn will be facing the same fate as some of the other damaged crops.

There's no question this wacky weather has affected crops across the state and even the country. Much of Colorado is still in a drought, but KKCO 11 News spent Friday in Olathe, and can say this year’s corn is sweeter than ever.

You may want to write this down: Add up 18 pickers, 13 packers, three people making boxes, four people loading, three people loading, and one driver.

That equals one thing. The corn season has arrived on the Western Slope.

"Today we will probably harvest 24,000 boxes of corn," Tuxedo Corn president John Harold said.

Farmers across the country have suffered losses due to the drought.

"We’re 2.6 inches below normal at this date this time of year," National Weather Service hydrologist Aldis Strautins said of the Valley’s precipitation.

Though Olathe couldn't quite beat the heat, last week's rain gave Tuxedo Corn the boost it needed to turn out another golden crop.

"So far, we did lose a field to heat stress,” Harold said. "The crop is fine. Probably as good of a crop as we've ever risen. So I don't see it hurting the corn as we speak."

Harold doesn't expect it to affect corn prices either.

"We have gotten a few plumes of moisture from the southwest that have come over the state. Last weekend was a good example of that where we got some beneficial rainfall," Strautins said.

The rain has helped, no doubt, but the extreme heat has also done the corn a few favors.

"The taste because of the amount of sunshine is probably even going to be sweeter," Harold said, not to mention this year's harvest started earlier than normal.

It will be a busy couple of months while Olathe’s corn is picked, packed, trucked and iced. And what would a corn story be without some corn puns? This ear's crop will be a-maize-ing!
So go ahead, enjoy some Olathe sweet, sweet corn.

Tuxedo Corn is now starting to ship its corn out to stores across the state. You can find it either at your local King Soopers or City Market, or you can come on out here to Olathe and pick up a box. Olathe sweet, sweet corn will also be shipped to stores across the country, all the way from Anchorage, Alaska to Roanoke, Virginia.

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