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Corn Smut  

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Farmers in the STL area think I'm crazy for asking them to bring huitlacoche to the market....
do you have farmers that raise smut for you? If so how is it packaged and what is the wholesale average?
Thanks! Even after 5 years of asking they still think I'm nuts.....maybe if they had an idea of how lucrative it can be.....
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #2 of 7
We get it in 25lb crates frozen from a local farmer at 16$ a lb. OR we buy it whole on the ear and process it at the restaurant and pay 8$ a lb. from a farmer that grows it just for us.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I gather he pollinates the corn with smut?.....so it's not hit or miss, he's got a field of smutty corn? The ears I've seen have a patch of huitlacoche it hasn't taken over the majority of the ear. Do you know how he's propogating it?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #4 of 7
For those of us who don't know what exactly is "Corn Smut"? I have never heard of it.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
fungus that grows on a corn ear.....a mushroom with sweet corn flavor, the part that makes it a turnoff is that it's grey~black distended kernals.

Corn Smut is what farmers call it. They remove it as quickly as it's discovered because it is (was) considered BAD. It would spread "distroying" the corn crop. I've been in a field with smut sometimes it's easy to see and othertimes it's hidden until you shuck the ear of corn. In mexico it's considered a delicacy much as a wild shroom. So, when the corn farmers come to market they hold the smut out to me with a sour disgusted look on their faces....they shake their heads and quietly express questions of my sanity....when I saute it for sampling they may try it but still they've grown up with it being a very negative scurge, so it would be essentially asking them to eat a bug or something really gross.

I've asked around to see who's interested in purchasing for their menus....several are but again it's finding the purchasers that will make it worth while. And on the flip side giving the farmers a price that makes them OK with propagating or trying to sell it. Did the same thing with garlic scapes a few years ago.....farmers were throwing them away, I asked them to bring in scapes...when I sauted them for sampling they flew off the market.Same with black radishes, sorrel, salsify, savoy cabbage, fennel, various chilis, cippolini onions......
This is the cool part of the gig....guess we all get our kicks somewhere.

By asking Rick how much he pays and how it's propogated we're spreading huitlacoche aka corn smut to the STL area....
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 7
He works with us directly—he is one of the farmers that we can ask specifically to grow for just our restaurant. Our managing chefs work on how much we will need, depending on menus, etc. A couple times a year, the chefs and myself will visit some of our farmers, not only to learn from them but sometimes to ask/teach them about some of our ingredients as well. The relationships we have cultivated have taken years and we are proud of them.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Farmer-chef relations can be a beautiful thing. It's great that you visit farms with your staff....many restaurants give lip service but don't follow through. When you visit a farm it means alot, much like a farmer that supplies you produce he grew coming to dine at your restaurant. The stories that come from visiting farms keeps the market newsletters interesting.....each farm is like a restaurant in that they are all different.

Purslane is another weed that is a wonderful addition to salads.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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