Friday, September 24, 2010
Week of September 6 2010 : Nubbin' Ears
(Here is a picture of a our baby corn. For many of our products, we grow a traditional full size variety and a smaller single serving size variety. This year we experimented with baby corn but the results were somewhat startling.)
As we get into September, the insect pressure on sweet corn is intense. The unusually warm summer created an opportunity for a third generation of corn borers. The second generation of corn earworms are peaking. Science has certainly provided many solutions for these pests, Unfortunately the organic solutions are not 100% effective.
So that left us with a problem. We had really great tasting sweet corn. But too many ears had a bonus bug.
Rather than discarding the ears as unmarketable and heaving them into the compost pile, we significantly dropped the price and clearly communicated the problem to our customers. There were three distinct reactions.
About 25% did not care at all. They wanted sweet corn, they knew from experience we had sweet corn, and a bug was nothing but proof we dont use harsh sprays.
About 50% cared a little bit. They were more interested in bargain prices than worrying about bugs.
About 25% cared very much. They tactfully but without any doubt passed.
At the time, we thought this was a good compromise; our short term goal was to avoid wasting otherwise perfectly fine food.
But, now that we have thought about that compromise a great deal more, perhaps that solution contradicted our long term goal of establishing a brand and continuously improving quality standards.