In 2003, my first book hit the shelves and City Farmer turned 25. We threw a big party at the garden. The celebration lasted all weekend with various anniversary events plus a book launch. On the Saturday evening we had a corn roast in the garden’s cob oven. My parents picked up the corn fresh that day from the Corn Barn in Chilliwack. We soaked them in their husks in large buckets of water and then baked them in the oven. We had various seasoned buttery toppings to dress them. People still talk about that corn and how it was the best they’d ever had in their life. And so, when my bus stopped in Chilliwack this week, my pulse quickened when I spotted the little green and yellow hut across the road. I was on my way to see my folks in the Okanagan and I knew they’d appreciate a good feed of corn.
Sparkes sweet corn is grown in Chilliwack, picked and delivered daily to the little green and yellow corn huts that dot the upper Fraser Valley. The Mitchell family started the business in the early eighties, then eleven years ago, the Sparkes family took over. Corn barn locations, all with convenient drive thrus, are listed on the web site along with cooking tips and recipes.
When I asked the fresh-faced girls what variety the corn was, one of them burst out, “Jubilee.” “Are they sweet?” I asked. “Oh yes,” she smiled, downright jubilantly. “They’re my favourite.” How could I resist? So I bought a bag and headed back across the road.
Now when I say road, what I actually mean is busy highway. On the way over, I managed to dash across without incident, but returning was a little trickier. I was laden down with a giant bag of corn. A baker’s dozen at least. The traffic was heavy and I could hear the bus engines revving. Corn got my heart rate up more than once that day.