Search for connectional corn leads to Maryville farm

All summer long, I had a wish to get corn on the cob from a local farm to serve at our free drive-through lunch ministry. It finally happened in August when we discovered Huff Farm in Maryville, Tennessee.

One of our ministry helpers, Marci, met Eddie Huff at a local farmers market and gave me his phone number. I called Eddie and asked to purchase 120 ears of corn. I was a little nervous, because locally grown produce can be more expensive than supermarket produce.

“Why don’t you just buy it at Sam’s Club?” I’m often asked about the food we prepare for our meal ministry at Norwood United Methodist Church.

We do buy most of our ingredients at big stores, with an eye on our budget and a focus on preparing as much of our menu by hand as possible.

But I’ve learned a lot about how food is a precious gift from God. We are better equipped to show respect and gratitude for our food when we know something about the land, animals, and people who provided it. Although local produce might cost more and take more time to find, I’m determined to at least try.

So on a blistering-hot August afternoon, my husband Mike and I met Eddie Huff at his fourth-generation family farm.

Eddie Huff

We learned the Huff family started out in the 1960s as dairy and tobacco farmers. Nowadays, Huff Farm specializes in raising Angus beef and growing over 40 acres of sweet corn with the help of family members and friends. In addition to selling the corn fresh, Huff also roasts them to sell as a buttery, lip-smacking snack at the downtown farmers market in Knoxville, Tennessee.

We learned that the bi-color corn grown by Eddie’s family, called Peaches and Cream, is known as to be an especially attractive and sweet-tasting variety.

We learned Eddie Huff is a member at Logan’s Chapel United Methodist Church! As a longtime editor for a United Methodist publication, I was excited to learn about that connection.

We also learned that Eddie is generous, because when we told him about our free meals for the community, he donated all 120 ears of corn – a gift that would have cost us $60 at full price.

The white and yellow kernels of Peaches and Cream corn are a favorite.

I was so happy about those big bags of corn that we protectively laid them on the living room floor of our air-conditioned house until we could get to the church kitchen the next day. A team of volunteers came in to shuck off the husks. Another team of helpers broke the cobs into half before boiling and serving them with butter to the 183 guests who came to our drive-through fish fry on Aug. 14.

Our guests commented on how especially sweet and good our corn on the cob was. I have to think it had a lot to do with the fact that we didn’t just get it packaged and frozen from Sam’s Club, birthplace unknown.

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