“Nanporo’s Pure White Corn”
Delicious in meals, steamed as a side, or eaten fresh off the cob.
There are many different varieties of corn, but have you ever heard of Pure White? Imagine, for a moment, corn with kernels of milky white, shining with the brilliance of a hundred tiny pearls. If yellow corn is your strong, hearty young man of summer, then Pure White is his elegant, shy summer love.
Growing this special corn takes a lot of time and effort, but luckily farmers in Nanporo know how to work hard. Their struggle is something that all Hokkaido Likers should appreciate. So read on, dear readers, to find out more...
Nanporo is located roughly 30 kilometers from Sapporo city. Although the strong winds of the town may at first appear to pose a problem for the fields of corn, they are actually a blessing in disguise. The winds help keep away the largest problem that white corn growers face: pollen from yellow corn plants. Because of the winds, all the pollen is blown away from the fields, thus preventing cross-pollination, making Nanporo one of Hokkado’s best areas for growing white corn. According to Mr. Hideki, a representative from “Nanporo’s Shining Agricultural Network,” “If we’re first in Hokkaido... well that means first in Japan as well!”
"Compared to your regular yellow corn, white corn has a bad germination rate and a poor yield. On top of that, although you usually have one week to harvest typical yellow corn, once Pure White decides it’s ready to be harvested we only really get a span of two or three days to complete the job. It’s one tough crop.” (From a conversation with Mr. Jyouchi)
So why, you might ask, would the farmers go through all of this trouble when other crops are so much easier to handle? The resounding answer is “Because we know people love to eat Pure White!”
"Nanporo’s Shining Agricultural Network" is currently composed of three agricultural corporations and four privately managed farms. Together they have been producing Pure White for a total of 13 years. The first three to four years were full of trial and error, accepting failures and learning from mistakes. The current quality and stable production of their product is a result of experience gained in those initial years.
A typical field of corn sees about 3,200-3,500 plants per 1000 square meters, but Pure White typically fits only 2,700-2,800 plants in the same space. This spacing allows for larger heads of corn on each plant.
Regular yellow corn can be eaten raw, but it tends to leave a grassy smell and taste in the mouth. Pure White corn eaten raw, however, provides a completely different experience. A single bite into the bubble wrap-like texture fills your mouth with the juicy sweetness of a fully ripe head of corn. Almost certainly a taste unlike any other corn you’ve had, it will leave you wondering how you could have gone so long without.
Of course, you can enjoy Pure White cooked as well. Don’t worry about boiling, just peel a head of corn, rinse it off (leaving a bit of moisture), wrap it in some cling wrap, pop it in the microwave and you’ve got yourself some deliciously sweet corn on the cob! (One head takes about three minutes.) Would you like some corn soup? Easy! After microwaving the corn just slice off the kernels and put them into a food processor, add milk and blend until smooth.
Nanporo Pure White only comes into season for a short time once a year, so if you want to try this delicious corn be sure to pick some up now! But if you do miss out don’t worry. The farmers in Nanporo will make sure you have the chance to enjoy Pure White for many years to come.
● Nanporo’s Shining Agricultural Network
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
※All pictures courtesy of Nanporo’s Shining Agricultural Network