It's happened again. A photo I posted on my Our Little Acre Facebook page has gone viral. It was about a year ago at this time that I posted a photo of our first grandchild there and 4.8 million people viewed that, and shared it more than 2,000 times. This time the photo was of the 'Glass Gem' corn I grew this summer.
|'Glass Gem', lit by the sun|
It has already surpassed the Hannah photo in shares (currently at 5,732), but I doubt that it will garner as many likes as our sweet baby (356,315). Back when all this happened with Hannah's photo, we dubbed it "The Hannah Effect." I really think maybe she has something to do with this corn thing too, because she spent this weekend with us and was here when I posted the photo. Viral by association.
We began harvesting the corn this past week and it lived up to all the internet sensation it was last year. Each ear that I husked was as beautiful as the one before it. They didn't all look alike, but they were all beautiful, and the majority of them were multicolored jewels - "glass gems."
|Click on the photo to open a larger version so you can appreciate the colors better!|
Parts of the corn plant itself were variable. Some had pinkish-purple roots...
...and some had red stalks...
Many of the stalks had double ears, a few had triple, and one even had four ears!
Pretty much all of the corn germinated, but not all of it was pollinated. And some of it had incomplete pollination. I worried that there would be cross-pollination with our sweet corn that was planted in the same plot as well as the field corn planted in the adjacent farm field. And there no doubt was. But it didn't prevent us from getting stunningly beautiful corn. We're going to grow it again next year, with seed saved from this year.
|On this smaller ear, the colors are darker.|
I've gotten many public and private messages asking several questions about this corn, so I want to answer those here:
- Is it real?
Yes, it's real. I planted the seeds this spring and just harvested it this past week. The colors you see in the photos are the colors the corn really has. They are just that beautiful. So beautiful that I can't stop looking at them.
- Is it a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)?
No. 'Glass Gem' seed is an open-pollinated seed, selected by Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer from Oklahoma, over many years. He kept selecting the best and most vibrantly colored seed each year and the result is what you see here.
- Is it edible?
Absolutely. But not as a sweet corn variety. It can be ground as corn meal or popped. When popped, the kernels are white. We're letting it dry out a little longer before we try to pop it, but that's what we're going to do with it, as well as save some seed for planting next year.
- Do you sell it?
No. I'm just a backyard gardener, like many of you. I got on a waiting list last year to buy the seed from Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona. The seed was rare enough that there was a limit of one packet of 50 seeds per person and we received ours in late winter this year. They have enough now for purchase that they've been able to lift the one-packet limit. You can purchase the seed here.
So, to summarize: Yes, it's real. Yes, I grew it. Yes, you can eat it. No, it isn't GMO. And finally, no, I don't sell it. Native Seeds/SEARCH does. Buy some from them and you'll help support their mission:
"Native Seeds/SEARCH conserves, distributes and documents the adapted and diverse varieties of agricultural seeds, their wild relatives and the role these seeds play in cultures of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico. We promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by gathering, safeguarding, and distributing their seeds to farming and gardening communities. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona."
Buy some and grow it just because it's so beautiful.