Elotes Occidental

This heritage Mexican corn was part of the driving force behind my interest in the Michiana Heritage Corn Project in 2019. The previous winter I had received a selection of Mexican corn varieties from a fellow in Sinaloa. I have always wanted to find the best corn varieties for my region to make authentic Mexican foods like tortillas and elote. This was the variety I chose to trial in 2019.

While the plants grew well (14 foot tall), what I did not expect was the unusual nature of the pollination cycle. As I later learned, this is common when you bring corn this far north and try to grow it. The plants tasseled fairly early but failed to set silks for another 4 weeks. This meant the pollen from the tassels had no silks to fertilize. Luckily I did manage about 4 ears in the end. Once again, an unusual outcome. While Elotes Occidental has reddish kernels, I managed 2 small ears that were solid red (one of which had a tassel growing out of the top of the ear) and 2 solid white ears. I kept a small amount of seed and realized that this variety would require a number of years of growing and selecting to possibly acclimate it to Northern Indiana.