Illinois Farm Caters to Corn Connoisseurs

In Conservation, Farming, Food, Video by Cindy

Some people may complain about the price of corn when it gets above around $4 a bushel, but there are corn connoisseurs who are willing to pay the equivalent of hundreds per bushel for special varieties that contribute to unique and delightful dishes.

Iroquois White Corn has an unusual earthy flavor and a varied texture that chefs love and it’s worth about $840 a bushel for Marty and Kris Travis of Spence Farm in Livingston County, Illinois.

Marty and Kris started growing the heirloom corn several years ago. “We harvest it, dry it and then we roast it over an open fire, shell it and run it through our stone mill to make a roasted corn meal,” Marty said. “We sell that to the general public and to chefs for $15 a pound.”

The Travis’ have also started growing a red flint corn from Italy this year, a typical polenta corn that took them two years to find and is in high demand with chefs right now. “The red corn has this incredible, floral flavor that is unlike any of the corns that we’ve ever tasted,” said Marty.

Kris and Marty are seventh generation farmers and their operation is the oldest family farm in Livingston County, IL. The unique farming operation was a stop on the Conservation Technology Information Center Indian Creek Watershed Project field tour last week. Watch them talk about their specialty corn crops and how they’ve found a market for just about every part of the plant!