Small Farmer’s Journal had an article about “Painted Mountain Corn” with referrals which I checked out. In just a short time I was talking to the man who was instrumental in developing Painted Mountain Corn. He referred me to Frank Kutka who is an OPC specialist, and puts together a newsletter for OPC growers called Corn Culture [now on Facebook]. I asked quite a few questions, and generally picked Frank’s brain. He made suggestions on different varieties, and where to obtain them.
The old way of selecting seed from open-pollinated corn involved selecting the best ears from the poorest ground. I have tried to select perfect ears based on the open-pollinated seed corn standards of the past. I learned these standards from old agricultural texts. The chosen ears of Reid’s average from 9 to 10.5 inches long and have smooth, well-formed grains in straight rows. I try to select ears with grains that extend to the end of the cob.
Most farmers take it for granted that hybrid corn will yield more, acre for acre, than an open-pollinated variety. However, as advocates of OP corn have always been apt to point out, yield isn’t everything. OP corn is well known to be more nutritious than hybrid strains, having more minerals, free sugars, and protein and less plain starch. Even animals will almost always preferentially consume OP ear corn if given a choice between it and a hybrid. Moreover, the wider gene pool of OP corn makes it resistant and/or tolerant to a wider variety of microbial diseases and insect pests.