Dayton, Special Report: July, 22 2015
Many of you already know that last week Jim took us on an expedition to get some corn.
I am aware that there is a contingent amongst you who say “Corn?—what about the new Breeders record?” and, believe me, I sympathize with this sentiment. In the meantime, here is some more about corn.
Leaving Dayton on route 35E, we headed northeast towards Springfield, and the legendary Clark’s Farm Market—”where my grandparents got their corn,” says our friend Kyle, in a reverential, almost mystical, tone. There is a festive, holiday atmosphere in the car—perhaps because Jim is, in fact, on vacation (we almost never see him during a weekday). By the time we are on 675N, east of the U.S. Air Force Museum (I can’t believe I’ve not been there yet, they have many exhibits of interest to me… War… Space…) we are almost giddy with wonder, nay disbelief, at the sight of a new pedestrian bridge over the highway, linking Wright State University to the shopping mall at Fairfield Commons, and vice versa. (What next? Whole Foods? Bike sharing?) The people clustered on the bridge seem similarly in awe, standing and staring at the speeding cars below.
The drive makes me think about other road trips we might take. For example, what about an outing to the Creation “Museum” in neighboring Kentucky? It seems to have a multitude of attractions: “biblical-themed dioramas,” “animatronic dinosaurs,” the “biggest zip-line in the Midwest,” the opportunity to “ride a camel”…. While I am engaging in this reverie, I am struck—and not for the first time—by the preponderance across the Midwest of items or collections prefixed with the words “world’s largest.” (The English, by the way, do not share this obsession with superlatives. We are content for things to be the size it is appropriate for them to be.) Ohio for example, accommodates the “World’s Largest Troll Collection” in the town of Alliance; and in Urbana, a stones throw from Dayton, is the “World’s Largest Loaf of Bread,” and, astonishingly, the “World’s Second Largest Loaf of Bread.” Roadside America reports that the former is “now in poor condition, but the owner did not have the heart to destroy it.” (I can find no information pertaining to the condition of the latter, diminutive, loaf.)
But I digress.
After a 30 minute drive, we arrive at the farm, and naturally, the first order of business is: white or bi-color? Jim asks the lady manning the stand this question and without hesitation she advocates for bi-color. With characteristic equanimity, Jim bags up a dozen of each; I follow suit with a more modest half dozen and some potatoes. Kelvis, preoccupied squeezing peaches and tomatoes and the task of selecting a melon, takes only white for herself and Kim.
Yesterday, Kelvis reported that the peaches were “delicious” (I concur—I had three) and says she heard that the “‘taters” were too. As a potato connoisseur, I tell her that I put them on my list of Top Ten Tubers of all time. The “‘maters” (in the vernacular) I thought were mediocre.
Kelvis went on to confess that she had forgotten her cantaloupe in her car overnight in the 90 degree heat. This morning she removed the now pungent fruit from the back seat and abandoned it “on a shelf behind Chipotle—I couldn’t bear to destroy it” (see “Worlds Largest Loaf,” above), adding, “it might still be there if you’re interested….” Ordinarily, this is indeed the sort of thing I am interested in, but I am presently working my way through my own melon and six ears of corn.
Here is the group evaluation of the corn, conducted via telephone poll.
“I haven’t tried the bi-color. Kim said she preferred it to the white.”
“Kelley heard the bi-color was sensational. I’ve not had the bi-color.”
“I thought the bi-color a little starchy—but I ate the white freshly picked, and the bi-color after four days, so I think it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison, if you see what I mean.”
“I thought the bi-color was good… but then I had the white… and it was sweet and juicy…”
“The bi-color was fantastic but the white is better.”