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Roy's Calais Abenaki Flint Corn

Zea mays

Grown by: Milkweed Farm in Brattleboro, VT

  • $5.00

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A great short season flint corn. Plants are 6-7 feet tall with 8-12 inch ears of golden yellow and maroon. Makes a very tasty cornmeal and hominy. Roy’s Calais flint corn is an open-pollinated flint corn originally cultivated by the western Abenaki (Sokoki) people in Vermont, and subsequently grown and maintained by farmers Roy and Ruth Fair of Calais, VT.

This flint corn, or some closely related variety, was the only type to survive and produce a crop in Vermont during the infamous Year Without a Summer (1816), when snow fell in June and killing frosts struck in every summer month. The unusually cold weather resulted from the ash cloud that filled the upper atmosphere and blanketed the Northern Hemisphere following the April 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora – located halfway around the globe, on the island of Sumbawa in the Dutch East Indies. In Vermont, some rural families were said to have subsisted on hedgehogs, boiled nettles, and clover heads.

Days to maturity: 95

Seeds per pack: 60

Planting / harvesting notes

Direct seed in Spring once soil temps are above 55 or transplant. Sow ¾–1" deep, 6–7" apart, rows 30–36" apart. Full sun. Must be planted in a block for proper pollination. The red gene is recessive, so plant a higher number of red kernels to maintain the color variation. Allow ears to dry on the plant and harvest when the husks are fully dry. Harvest when ready and pull husks back and move indoors for further drying.

Seed keeping notes

Corn is wind pollinated and should be isolated by 2-3 miles from other varieties of corn to avoid unwanted cross-pollination. Another option is to separate your corn plantings by 3-4 weeks so they do not flower/tassel at the same time. Allow the cobs and kernels to dry on the plants before harvesting for seed. If you are concerned about neighbor's corn plots hybridizing yours, consider only harvesting seed from the plants towards the middle of your plot, leaving the outer rows for eating. If necessary, lay out the cobs to do some final drying before removing the husks and seeds.


This product is part of the Ark of Taste Collection.

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