Zea mays subsp. mays
Origin: Oaxaca, via Mexico City & Wisconsin
Improvement status: Landrace
Seeds per packet: ~100
Germination tested 12/2022: 99%
Life cycle: Annual
Rodrigo Cala is an integral part of the organic farming community in the greater Twin Cities foodshed, as both a farmer and organizer, and we are honored to be offering his family's heirloom corn.
Forty years ago, Rodrigo's parents traveled to Oaxaca and acquired this heiroom corn. They spent the next few decades stewarding it on the outskirts of Mexico City. Rodrigo has been growing this corn at his farm in northern Wisconsin for five years now, with great success.
Rodrigo describes it as a multipurpose flour corn. It can be harvested when it isn't yet ripe (at about the stage you would harvest sweet corn), and tossed on the grill for a Mexican delicacy. In this stage it is tender, tasty, and soft, not sweet but not mealy either. As Rodrigo says, "it's just what Mexicans want."
It can also be grown to full maturity and dried, then milled into flour for tortillas or tamales. Again, in this stage, Rodrigo describes the flavor as top-notch.
Rodrigo also feeds this productive corn to his pigs, chickens, or sheep on his diverse, small-scale, organic farm.
Rodrigo was an important part of running the Shared Ground Farmers' Cooperative, and has been a long-time employee at the Latino Economic Development Center based in Saint Paul, MN, where he does outreach and consulting to Latin American farmers in the greater Midwest region. In 2021, he grew all of the vegetable plant starts for Agrarian Seed & Garden in Minneapolis, a new garden center started by EFN's seed company managers Dusty Hinz, Colty Hinz, and Kierra Jeffers.
GROWING TIPS: Rodrigo grows this corn in rows 32 inches apart. Every 18 inches he plants 3-4 seeds and let's them grow up together in a clump with each other. Corn can be a heavy feeder so we recommend planting in fertile soil and using organic fertilizer and/or compost to ensure enough nutrition. Rodrigo plants in late May and says the corn is ready in late August or early September.