Our Journey with Corn (part 1)

As you may know, we have been growing various kinds of flint corn for milling since 2010.  Dad started us on the path after reading an article about making your own cornmeal.  As a big fan of cornbread, and being recently retired with more time for gardening, he put in a patch of "Roy's Calais" and "Painted Mountain" flint corns.  Being the wonderful children that we are (and also being fond of cornbread), my siblings and I pooled together to get him a nice grain mill for Christmas. 

The Country Living Grain Mill (with jars of Painted Mtn and Hopi Blue cornmeal)

The Country Living Grain Mill (with jars of Painted Mtn and Hopi Blue cornmeal)

As it turns out, there's no comparison between the complex flavors of fresh ground cornmeal and the sawdust that you can find in stores.  We were officially addicted, and decided there must be others out there who would enjoy the experience.  So when we started Lost Barn Farm in the spring of 2011, we grew an even bigger patch of both "Roy's Calais" (an Abenaki variety originally maintained by Roy Fair of Calais, VT) and "Painted Mountain" (an open pollinated genepool, descended from over 70 Native corns rescued from Indians and homesteaders who lived in the harshest climates of the Northern Rockies and Great Plains regions of the US and Canada) and started selling cornmeal at the farmers markets.

Hopi Blue, Roy's Calais and Painted Mountain from our 2015 crop

Hopi Blue, Roy's Calais and Painted Mountain from our 2015 crop

We have continued to grow Roy's Calais and Painted Mountain, and have since also tried "Black Aztec" dent corn, "Floriani" flint, "Dakota Ivory" flint, "Hopi Blue" flint and most recently "Bloody Butcher" dent.  We have also experimented with a range of textures from our mill, from corn flour to polenta, and have settled comfortably in the middle where, without sifting it, the range of grain size works to make cornbread as well as polenta.  We'll save the fine flour for after we've learned to nixtamalize the corn. (Stay tuned for part 2 where we explore exotic worlds-and words-of nixtamalize, masa harina and posole.  Coming soon!)