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South Texas Living


Memories of growing, picking, eating corn


Memories of growing, picking, eating corn
Henry Castro holds granddaughter Rebecca Flores as he stands next to grandson Marcos Garza in front of his cornfield in the summer of 1998.


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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
July 10, 2013
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Henry and I have been enjoying fresh corn on the cob lately. I guess it has been a good year for corn growers because corn has been plentiful at the local stores and at a good price. When it was 10 ears for $1, I stocked up and put some in the freezer.

For me it brings back memories of the 1950s. There was this relative of mine, Antonio Gonzales, who would come by our house on Plum Street with a wagon full of fresh corn. He would sell me a dozen ears for $1. And they were real big, not like the ones they sell now. They were so sweet and juicy.

For Henry, his memories are of when Grandpa Castro would plant corn in a field away from the Blake farm, where they lived. He has pointed out that field to me countless times. It was approximately 100 acres. The rows, about 100 of them, were about a quarter mile long. According to Henry, they would fill seven wagons with corn at a time. Three persons would take seven rows at a time, and by the time they came to the end of those rows they should have seven wagons full. Grandpa would get on a mare called La Gloria and check the rows at random after the pickers had gone by. If he found even three out of those seven rows, they had to go back and check all of them again. They usually found at least 50 or so more. They continued picking corn and filling the wagons until the whole field was picked clean. I asked Henry what they did with so much corn. He says they ate what they could while it was still fresh, gave to the neighbors, and some they would take to the mill to have it ground into cornmeal. He says they ate a lot of cornbread and corn tortillas. Also Grandpa would barter with other farmers for hay. The rest would be stored in the barn for feed for the animals.

Through the years, Henry has planted corn a few times. The last time was after we moved here to B Street. We planted it on what I call the back forty. It was a good year and we got a good yield from the few rows that we planted. We ate what we could, shared with the kids, and stored some in the freezer. For Thanksgiving that year when we got together with the family, we had corn on the cob from our garden.

The only thing I didn’t like about growing corn was having to chop down the dry stalks, throwing them in the back of the pickup and hauling them to Gilbert and Lia’s place for feed for the mare they were keeping for us.

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is juliamcastro1@gmail.com.
 

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