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Olathe sweet corn

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Stina Sieg/CPR News
Luca Harold grins in one of the many fields that produces Olathe Sweet sweet corn, trademarked and popularized by his grandfather, John Harold, who started the Tuxedo Corn Company in the 1980s.
Olathe sweet corn

Every summer, Coloradans anticipate roasting and buttering ears of Olathe sweet corn, grown exclusively in Montrose County. But it’s more than a vegetable – it’s the crop that saved Olathe!

Once upon a time, Olathe’s economy ran on sugar beets and barley. When demand for these dropped in the 1970s, the town’s finances suffered. Then along came a new sweet corn variety, with higher than normal sugar content and unusually tender yellow and white kernels. In just a decade, the farmer who first planted it raked in millions of dollars. Soon other fields were planted in sweet corn.

The delicate ears must be harvested by hand – tens of millions every summer – quickly packed in ice slush to lock in the sweetness, and then sent to grocery stores and farm stands. It’s the sweet treat on the cob that restored Olathe’s economy, and the focus of a festival every summer to celebrate Olathe sweet corn.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.