8.18.2014

Cokato Corn Carnival, Part 2: Professional Mother Shuckers!

 You see that big tub up there? Mmmm, corn.

As promised in yesterday's post, this post is only going to deal with corn on the cob consumption at the Cokato Corn Carnival (say that ten times fast). We're going to talk about how they prep, deliver, stage, cook, serve, and consume 20 TONS of corn over two nights. I was amazed at how this small town operation is enhanced and likely made possible by farm ingenuity, and I think you will be too.

To start with and as a bit of review, they hand-shuck 10 TONS of corn for each day of the carnival that corn is served Tuesday and Wednesday only. I'm told this is done off-site in the community center.  

Once the ears are cleaned, they arrive to the corn consumption station by truck and trailer. See the truck on the right in the pic below? It has around 6-10 farm troughs made out of galvanized steel. Each trough is full of shucked corn, ready to be steamed/boiled into a delicious treat.

Also in the pic below, you can see the baskets that the delivered corn is placed into for cooking. This is all done by hand, with quality control happening during many of the stages in the process (which entails tossing any bad-looking ears out).



The corn is loaded in to these baskets and hauled by winch from the tuck's trailer bed, to the waiting tubs of hot water (heated by steam). They get a nice hot-tub soak and then get hauled out, still in the basket to the packing and serving lines.

There are two serving lines in the consumption area. Each one gets a continuous delivery of just-cooked corn on the cob as long as the night allows. The baskets of corn are shoved down the line to a waiting crew of un-basketers, butterers, and wrapper-ers (?).


Pretty little maids all in a row..."



Above, you can see the station just before it's served to the masses (Jesus should have used corn instead of loaves and fishes!). The baskets of pipping hot corn are handed one by one (helping with the QC process), to the folks who are buttering each ear by hand, and with paint brush from the looks of it (smart!).


Can I take a dip in that butter pan later? I know from Seinfeld that it's good for the skin

The people ahead of the butterers are wrapping each ear of corn in parchment paper, then placing it directly on the counter in front of them, to be snatched up by folks going through the line. I don't think I saw any corn sit waiting for a "consumer" for more than a minute. People can and do grab multiple ears of corn too. Some people, like my coworker, are taking them off-site and some people might just be loading up to sit in the grass and have a feed session with their family. You don't want to make grandma and grandpa wait in line, do you? I heard tales of young kids eating 13 ears of corn in a single day. It seemed pretty common for people to eat 6-8 ears as a matter of course. I had 4 on my first visit to the carnival and had I planned better, it could have been more. The corn was also delicious. The 2nd two ears we both had seemed to be even better than the first, but it was all good.

Below is the final part of the corn consumption area that I thought was ingenious - they have a five foot railing with a small shelf set-up all around the area, so you can just grab some ears and get to eatin'! It would be akin to a bar for drinking, but it's only for ears of eatin'. They had napkins and salt lined-up all around and it made for a really nice "corn delivery system".

Assume the position and clean those cobs!!!

More valuable than gold for a couple days each year in August.
If you can't tell, my recommendation is to GO to the Cokato Corn Carnival if you ever get the chance. Bring a Ziploc to bring some of it home with you too.

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