Wapsie Valley Corn Facts 2021
In 2021, Wapsie Valley Corn was grown in Independence Township on 4.25 acres on the farm known as “Pleasant View Farm.” This farm was established in 1824 by J.M Welsh. Welsh is listed in the Caldwell Atlas as a farmer, grain, stock and wool grower. The farm was dormant for many years; however since 2006, organic grains and hay were grown on this farm. Weatherbury Farm has farmed this land since 2017. This farm has been certified organic since 2006.
The corn was planted on May 20, 2021.
In a “normal” year, we rotary hoe the corn twice and cultivate it twice. Due to rain, we didn’t have the opportunity to rotary hoe the corn or cultivate it. It was interesting to note that the corn didn’t suffer from not being rotary hoed or cultivated.
The corn was harvested on November 9 2021.
At the 2021 Washington County Fair, Weatherbury’s corn stalks placed 1st — beating all the GMO corn in the county! This was the third year our stalks placed 1st — repeating their victory of both 2016 and 2017. The ears of corn placed 1st also and the jar of corn placed 4th.
And as to taste — cornbread made with Weatherbury’s cornmeal and pastry flour won 1st place in 2021. The cornbread has placed at the county fair 6 out of the past 7 years.
For an illustrated explanation of how Weatherbury grains become flour (and how corn becomes cornmeal and polenta), visit the from seed to flour page.
More information on Wapsie Valley Corn below the pictures!
Plowing and Rotary Hoeing the seed bed for the corn.
Planting the Wapsie Valley Corn
Twenty five days later the corn is beginning to grow.
Twelve days later
(just over 1 month from planting)
Exceeding expectations — greater than “knee high by the 4th of July”!
Weatherbury Cornmeal and Polenta in the field.
On Thursday October 22nd, a devastating tornado (force 2, up to 150 yards wide, 15 miles long) ripped through our part of Washington County. Luckily for us, we lost only a few acres of corn. But there were houses, barns and sheds that were completely destroyed.
Picking Seed Corn
We choose our seed corn so that our corn grows on the heartiest stalks possible (& can even sustain some tornado damage).
The farmers look for corn plants where the ears hang lower on the stalk, the stalks are bigger diameter and brace roots (2nd tier roots) which help to stabilize the corn stalk. We also select ears that point downward as they shed water.
Picking Corn for seed for next year’s crop
No, it’s not Santa Claus –it’s Farmer Dale taking one of 10 bags of seed corn back to the farm to be shelled.
We use our 1980 Gleaner Combine to harvest all of our grains and beans. In between crops, the grain bin on the combine is thoroughly cleaned out and settings are adjusted as necessary for the next crop. Above Nigel is oiling one of the many grease points on the combine.
On Sunday, as we got the combine ready for the field the oil pressure tubing failed — and since stores were closed, we only got back to working on the combined today.
Harvesting/Combining Wapsie Valley Corn
The name, combine, derives from its combining four separate harvesting operations—reaping, threshing, gathering, and winnowing—into a single process. Combine harvesters are one of the most economically important labor-saving inventions, significantly reducing the fraction of the population engaged in agriculture. (If you discount maintenance time.)
You might ask why we use a 1980 combine. Smaller combines like ours have not been available for sale in the US since 1986 (although they are in Europe). This means we spend more time in the shop most years with our combine than in the field. Just a fact of life in the rolling hills of southwest PA.
Unloading harvested corn into a peanut wagon
We use a peanut wagon to store our Wapsie Valley Corn because it has a bottom floor which can be aerated to help dry down the corn.
Our peanut wagon started its life on a North Carolina peanut farm. Newer technologies are now available for drying peanuts. We use peanut wagons to dry corn and oats.
The carbon footprint of all our milled products is tiny because we grow the grains on our farm (as opposed to purchasing them from North Dakota as many small mills do). Our corn travelled two miles from the field were it was grown to our mill.
About Wapsie Valley Corn
Wapsie Valley Corn is an open-pollinated heirloom dent corn dating back to the 1850s. It produces ears of either all coppery red or all dark yellow kernels.
Corn is a spring planted crop. Because Weatherbury Farm is organic, we rotary hoe and cultivate the corn to lessen the impact of weeds.
Products Milled from Wapsie Valley Corn
Polenta and cornmeal are both milled from Wapsie Valley corn, which has both a visual and flavor punch.
During the past seven years, cornbread made with Weatherbury’s cornmeal and sifted pastry flour has won four first place ribbons
and two second places at the county fair.
Health Benefits of Corn
Corn is a rich source of vitamins A,B,E and minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper). With a high fiber content, it plays a significant role in preventing digestive ailments. It is rich in phytochemicals which provides protection against a number of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
To read more about polenta and cornmeal, please visit our products page.
More information on corn and other grains grown at Weatherbury Farm are on the grains we grow page.