An Unusual Place to Find Sweet Corn
If you’ve ever eaten ripe and sugary sweet corn on the cob when it was just picked from the farm, you’ll swear you’ve just tasted a little bit of heaven. And people who have had that amazing taste experience, always long for more. Fortunately, for sweet corn lovers, that experience is available in one of the most unusual spots; in the middle of a bustling city, in Mesa, Arizona.
The sweet corn is grown by Arizona Farm Bureau member farmers Mark and LeeAnn Freeman and their children on 25 acres of farmland that is nestled in between the residential area of Center Street and 9th street in the northern part of Mesa. The Freeman Family have been Farm Bureau members for over 40 years.
The property was originally homesteaded in the early 1900’s by Doctor A. J. Chandler, the Arizona territory’s first veterinarian and namesake for the City of Chandler, Arizona. Dr. Chandler raised ostriches on the property.
The property was later purchased by Mr. Larkin Fitch who built the home that currently sits on the property. The home and adjoining structures are being declared as a Historic Property by the City of Mesa, and will be preserved.
The Freeman family has farmed in the Salt River Valley since 1920, farming in the northeast part of the Valley. It was around 1980 that the Fitch Family contacted Mark’s father, Wayne Freeman, about farming 45 acres of property that was quickly being enveloped by residential homes, and that he did.
Eight years ago, Mark & LeeAnn Freeman and their children took over farming the historic piece of property. Their primary crop is sweet corn; although they also grow squash, tomatoes, and okra. During harvest time they sell their fresh produce at a stand on the south end of the property, along with other local Arizona grown produce.
As the corn grows taller and harvest time approaches, people stop by the farm on an almost daily basis, asking when the corn will be reading for picking and eating. But Mark Freeman knows you can’t hurry nature. Typically the corn is ready just in time for Memorial Day barbecues, but with the mild spring we’ve had in Arizona, it put the corn back about a week. They anticipate the corn will be ready by the first or second weekend in June.
Sweet corn lovers, the wait will soon be over.