Roy's Calais Flint Corn and its Varieties

| 1/10/2018 1:01:00 PM

Tags: Pam Sherman, Colorado, high-altitude gardening, seed-saving, heirloom corn, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Slow Food USA, Abenaki Calais flint corn, Abenaki Calais corn, Ayers Creek Farm, High Mowing Seeds, ,


We were looking for any corn that would grow at altitude in the cold, dry Rockies. Roy's Calais is a Northeast flint. We took a chance on one of its varieties, Abenaki Calais. It hit the mark; taste and nutrition were unexpected benefits. Here's the nutshell story of its resilience and taste.

The Northern Flints' ancestors came from Guatemala, Mexico, or the U.S. Southwest around 1000 CE. to the Woodland peoples of what is now the Eastern U.S. and Canada, who selected for early ripening and cold soil germination.

This was one of the few varieties that was said to have reliably produced a crop in the horrible summer of 1816, the famous “year without a summer.”

Many New England “eight row flints” like this one disappeared as modern hybrid dents took over. In 1996 Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds in Vermont rescued the last of this variety, naming it after farmer Roy Fair who had nurtured it in the 1930s in Calais, Vermont.

High Mowing Seeds' Brigit Derel notes that Montana corn breeder “Dave Christensen says Roy's is the second earliest corn variety he has ever grown out of hundreds. His multi-strain painted mountain corn is first and has a little Roy's blood in it.”

1/13/2018 3:31:07 PM

Would this corn fair well at the slightly lower and dryer elevation in Cortez CO?Jan M

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