Rainbow Inca Corn
Rainbow Inca Corn, growing in the back yard at Thomas Open Space, is a divine example of the heart, spirit and soul goals of â€˜Organicâ€™ as a way of life. While we will be unable to offer this as a selection for you to try this growing season, 2007, we would like to share with you this corn's amazing story. Rainbow Inca Corn is living proof that we do not need manipulative/GMO or sugar-enhanced hybrid corns to create above standard food products. To give you an idea of where this corn has come from, to share with you a piece of Richâ€™s history, I have excerpted this piece from the Seeds of Change book, Gardening for the Future of the Earth:
"Alan Kapuler's very first breeding project, which produced Rainbow Inca Corn, occurred when he was living in a commune in southern Oregon, growing vegetables. Plant breeder Carol Deppe tells the story: "Rainbow Inca didn't start as a breeding project; it began as a spiritual act, a ceremony. Alan had grown a number of different varieties of corn the previous year, and he had chosen his twelve favorite ears of all the varieties. The ears were of all different kinds and colors - flour corns, native Indian corns, heirloom sweet corns, and other varieties. He shelled out the chosen twelve and planted the kernels in rows, sowing all the seed of one type, then starting on the next, wherever he was in the row. The corn was all in one patch, in somewhat intermingled blocks. Because of mole activity, Alan replanted randomly and at different dates, so that corn of various kinds was scattered throughout the patch. "This meant that all kinds of crosses could happen, even between very early and late types. He wasn't thinking about this at the time; it's just the way it happened. One of the corns Alan planted was an Incan flour corn with huge, flat white seeds and plants about twelve feet high. When Alan harvested his corn, the ears on his Incan corn were especially beautiful, and there were one or two colored seeds on each ear that represented pollination by a colored variety. There were yellows, reds, purples, and blues; solid colors, stripes, blazes, and spots; clear colors and iridescent ones. There were a hundred to a hundred and fifty colored kernels altogether. Alan picked the colored kernels off the ears and saved them.
He planted about a hundred of the colored kernels the next year. When he harvested the patch, the ears showed an occasional crinkled seed, representing sweet types. The genes associated with sweet corn are recessive, so no crinkled kernels appeared in the original crosses involving the flour-type Incan mother plants. There were about forty crinkled kernels the following year. His harvest was about five pounds of kernels, all sweet and of all colors.
He selected for large, crinkled, flat kernels and planted a couple of ounces of seed. In subsequent years he continued selecting for large, fat kernels of all colors. He also selected for plant height of about eight feet instead of the ten to twelve feet typical of the original Incan corn (eight-foot plants were enough earlier in the season to be dependable). And he selected for ears that were lower on the plant - 'so I could reach them,' he says. Lower ears are also larger, so selection for lower ears automatically selects for bigger ears and higher yield.
Rainbow Inca sweet corn preserves the cytoplasm of the original Incan flour corn and a large amount of genetic variability derived from many sources. The kernels are of all colors and patterns, huge compared to any other sweet corn, and broad and flat. The plants are about eight feet tall. It's of late and reliable maturity here in Oregon (meaning that it would probably be considered midseason in most areas). It's undoubtedly been automatically selected for productivity in cool weather because of where it was bred; the flavor is excellent.
Alan didn't realize that he had developed something special until he offered his Rainbow Inca through the Seed Savers Exchange and heard the reactions of those who grew it. It's excellent, unusual, unlike anything else, they said. Rainbow Inca... remains one of the most unusual corns available."
Rainbow Inca Corn is all of a great sweet corn young and wonderful tortilla or soup corn mature; that is what makes it unusual and different. It may be enjoyed fire cooked at its youngest stages as a mid-west style sweet corn and into a tortilla/posole stage as a traditional food before going into its seed stage. Rainbow Inca Sweet Corn, as a viable open pollinated crop, is being established through the collaborative growing efforts of Alan Kapuler (Mushroom), our very own Farmer Rich, and Seeds of Change. With patience and success we will be able to produce Rainbow Inca Corn for the greater community in years to come.
CSA 2010 is closed
Where We Are
Spring is Coming!
Thursdays are open for visitation. We are packing seed orders and chatting it up with friends and family. In addition to eggs and seeds, there are also dry beans and some root stocks floating around and available. The home farm is located at 10145 Oxford Rd. We hope to see you soon!
Boulder Farmers Market re-opens Saturdays on April 2 from 8-2 and Wednesdays on May 4 from 4-8
This year we will also have seeds at the Longmont Farmer's Market for the first 6 markets.