Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eww, It's Earful

Ahh, the bountiful supply of sweet corn. We bought some two weeks ago from this same vendor and barbequed it along with a boneless turkey thigh from DiPalo's Turkey. So sweet, it was like eating Corn Pops. We decided to give it another go.

But each and every ear had one Corn Ear Worm, Heliothis zea, inside its husk. Green, black, brown, or pinkish- one worm for every ear. The moth lays one or several eggs on the silk tassel. But generally you won't find more than one worm inside the ear because, apparently the young cannibalize each other.

If you're used to buying conventionally grown corn from the supermarket, it is unlikely you've seen many of these. You know how they sell those shucked corn ears in the plastic wrap, with the ends cut off? Yep, often corn ear worm damaged. That's how they make something that makes people go 'eww' into something that looks like a time saver!

If you remove the husk, the worm wants to escape. It has already made corn meal out of this ear tip.

The farmer selling this corn at the Cortelyou Farmer's Market is not an organic farmer. Organic farmers may use pheromone traps or BT sprays, but these have only limited usefulness. Apparently the female moth can lay up to two thousand eggs in her life time and two generations can survive one season. Food for us is food for all, including worms, so cut off those corn ends and lets get grilling.

Bucka Ding, Bucka Ding, Bucka Ding Dang Doong.

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