High-altitude adapted landrace blue corn bred in Advent Gulch, in Western Idaho near Hell’s Canyon. Extremely vigorous in cold soil.
The story of corn and people is a beautiful one of co-creation. Thousands of years ago, Indigenous people in modern day Central America worked side-by-side with a wild grass named Teosinte until it became what we know as maize, or corn. From there, it traveled north and south all over the Western hemisphere along trade routes, and hundreds of different indigenous groups adapted it for their unique place on earth, where it shaped their diets and cultures. For thousands of years, Native communities have cared for their maize despite colonizers trying to separate them from it in order to control them. Both the corn and the corn stewards have survived, and it is through the generosity of both of them that we have the gift of corn today.
Most recently, this corn is the life's work of Idahoan Mike O'Brien, who has bred this corn in Advent Gulch (near Cambridge, Idaho) at 3,500' elevation for over 30 years. He started with a Black Aztec corn from Nichols seeds and selected for several years to improve the variety. When he reached a plateau, he crossed in a multi-color Indian corn and then spent several years picking out everything that wasn't blue, improving the variety for another 10 years before his improvements plateaued again. He then crossed in a Hopi and Cherokee Blue corn and improved the variety for another 15 years. At this point, his corn thrives in cold soils and has adapted to much of southern Idaho. It is a mix of flour, flint, and dent corns and is wonderful for polenta as well as "corn nuts" (parched corn). He also makes a hell of a good cornbread with it! Mike reminds growers to pull back the husks while the cobs dry down or they will mold.
Grown by Morning Owl Farms in Boise, Idaho.