Featured Farmer: Ray Brentlinger
On: June 21, 2012
Since our beginnings as a small fruit and vegetable market at the corner of Dorothy Lane and Far Hills Avenue in the late 1940s, we have been handling good food from local farmers. Way back then Mr. Brentlinger would bring his fresh corn crop to my grandfather Calvin, and ever since we’ve had spectacular local corn in the store every summer. Mr. Brentlinger’s sons Ray and Tom are fourth-generation farmers, and continue to deliver fresh corn to our stores every day in season.
So what makes Brentlinger’s corn so good? For one thing, they are blessed with good soil: the rich black soil of Clark County is famous in all the Midwest amongst farmers. Besides having good soil, the Brentlingers are picky about the varieties of corn they plant. They prefer old, traditional varieties of corn such as the white Avalon and yellow Honey Select. Ray tells me that this makes a big difference in how the corn tastes. Most corn you find out there these days is often overly crunchy and chewy. You can tell the difference with a Brentlinger ear as soon as you see it. It’s healthy with large, plump kernels, and is nicer to eat off the cob.
Ray is a fanatic for freshness. Every day this time of year he calls the three Produce Managers, Michelle, Ron, and Teresa, at about 8 a.m. He then picks the corn and delivers to us at around Noon, with the ears of corn still moist with morning dew. I can’t wait to start eating!
Speaking of eating, there are several simple ways to prepare Ray’s corn, from shucking and boiling, to roasting with the husk on in the oven, to grilling. Funny thing is, Ray with all his traditional farming ways, prefers the microwave. He says he puts a single ear in the husk in the microwave for two minutes and it comes out perfectly. I like his corn with a good melted butter, such as the Italian butter we sell in The DLM Cheese Shop. Or, try it how my Mexican friends eat it with a mix of butter, mayonnaise, and some form of hot pepper sauce or chili pepper. Any way you go, now’s the time of year to enjoy one of our greatest local crops… juicy, delicious corn from Brentlinger’s Farm Market!