OLATHE, Colo. — Olathe-Summer in Colorado is pretty special.
The days are hot and often dry, but the evenings are almost always pleasant. It’s that combination that makes for a successful crop or many crops of sweet corn.
In August, the corn arrives in King Soopers and City Market stores across the state and in dozens of other states. It comes from the Tuxedo Corn Company in Olathe, halfway between Montrose and Delta on the western slope.
John Harold started the company 35 years ago. Harold and his team (most of them on work visas) handpick the corn. Harold said if a machine picked the corn, the kernels would pop.
“And that’s why we do what we do. We’re among the last to do it that way.”
Over the years, they have modified their harvest methods, using large metal contraptions to map the fields as they pick, sort and box the corn. The equipment has become a necessity.
“The first year we picked it, we picked it with a belt put it in a truck, found a shade tree and sorted it," Harold said. "And the first year we did about 12,000 boxes, now we’re doing 600 to 700,000 containers.”
At age 81, Harold still enjoys farming.
“I don’t pick corn as fast as I used to, I don’t jump as high as I used to, I don’t chase women like I used to, but I’m still going and happy as a lark," he said. "And when the that time comes if I drop dead in a cornfield, I’ll be happy. They always say put manure in the cornfield and corn will grow so some spot in the field will do well.”
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