Ron Markey partially shucks fresh-picked corn for display Monday at his Kenmar Farms market in York Township. Sweet corn is coming in a little later than
Ron Markey partially shucks fresh-picked corn for display Monday at his Kenmar Farms market in York Township. Sweet corn is coming in a little later than usual in York County this year, which growers blame on the cold, wet spring. (Bill Kalina — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

The sweet corn is staying on its stalks a little longer this year, but the local crop is expected to hit markets and produce stands within the next week and a half.

Ron Brillhart started pulling corn Monday at his North Codorus Township farm — that's a week later than usual.

"A cooler spring and rainy April held us back," he said.

Brillhart grows his corn for two retail outlets: Farmers' Market Co. at 380 W. Market St. in York City and Ilyes Produce Stand at 3356 Days Mill Road in Springfield Township.

Because of unfavorable weather conditions during the spring growing season, the first crop of corn is a little thin, he said.

But Brillhart expects that to change soon.

"The later crop due two weeks from now looks really good," he said.

Ideal lately: Weather conditions during the last two weeks have been great for growing corn, said Karen Doyle, co-owner of Family Tree Farm at 4874 Dairy Road in Red Lion.

"Corn likes the heat and humidity. It grows faster in warm, hot weather. This is what we want," she said.

The corn at Family Tree Farm is also a little late.

"With all that cold and rain in April, we couldn't get into the fields. The ground was too wet, and it was too cold to plant. It set us back a week," Doyle said.

The crop is also about a week and a half late at Kilgore Family Farm, an incubator farm at Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education at 4945 Horn Road in Hellam Township.


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"It was a rainy, cool spring, and we couldn't get it into the ground until later," said Jeremy Kilgore, owner of the farm.

The farm also grows the corn organically, which is tough, he said.

"It's been dry the last few weeks. We've had a little rain, but not enough to grow a decent amount," Kilgore said.

Not unexpected: The late corn crop is in line with other vegetables and fruits this year.

For example, strawberries, cherries and blueberries were all about a week late this year, growers said.

"In general, things are probably later than usual. The spring weather made it too wet and too cold to plant," said William Troxell, executive secretary at Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, a Harrisburg-based organization that does marketing for the state's vegetable growers.

While the crop is late throughout York County, that's not true for all Pennsylvania sweet corn.

More than 15,000 acres of sweet corn are grown in the state, and 95 percent of the crop is grown for fresh market sales, according to the marketing and research program.

The corn grown in neighboring Lancaster County was on time, Troxell said.

"We heard about Lancaster Country growers pulling two weeks ago," he said.

Flinchbaugh's Orchard & Farm Market gets its sweet corn from a grower in Mount Joy and has been selling it since June 30.

"We started right on schedule, and there's a good supply," said Julie Flinchbaugh, market manager of the farm at 110 Ducktown Road in Hellam.

The crop is moving out of the door as quickly as it's coming in, she said.

"Everybody was really excited to have fresh, local sweet corn in time for the Fourth of July," Flinchbaugh said.

—Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.