The ancestor to modern corn, and one of the most incredible stories of the human-plant interconnection imaginable. Teosinte is an unsuspecting Mesoamerican grass that had no idea the impact it would have on humanity. If you were to ask a modern-day plant breeder whether it would be possible to breed modern corn out of teosinte, she would shake her head and say, “No way–it’s too big of a jump.” And yet, there is evidence of modern corn found in archeological digs in several locations in Mesoamerica that date to over 7,000 years old. Imagine that–with no modern tools, genetic markers, or Mendelian genetics, folks managed to transform these small, unpalatable seeds into a plant with large, delicious kernels that formed the backbone of countless societies throughout history and into the present day. Absolutely remarkable.
Our seed initially came from Joseph Lofthouse, and during a visit to our farm this summer, he showed us how some of the plants in our field had cross-pollinated with a more modern corn variety. He showed us how to identify them and we rogued from then on. We will continue to do so as we grow future crops, but be advised that you might see a few plants that have a bit of cross-pollination. Nevertheless, it is an incredible educational (and I’d even say spiritual) experience to grow this crop and connect to the thousands of generations of hands that have stewarded it into what sustains us today.
Grown by Earthly Delights Farm in Boise, ID.