Kroger Great Lakes Division has premium pick of the season with 'Olathe Sweet' sweet corn

Columbus, Ohio and Livonia, Michigan
August 7, 2003

Kroger Great Lakes Division shoppers in Mich. and Ohio can now purchase "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn, widely known as the best grown corn in the United States. Harvested high in the Rocky Mountains in Olathe, Col., by hand, "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn is known for its pleasant taste and tender texture.

Kroger will have a limited, one-time supply of "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn -- once the current stock is out, it will not be replaced this season.

"Kroger takes an active role in ensuring that our shoppers have the highest quality selection of summer produce," said Jon Flora, president, Kroger Great Lakes division. "Throughout the summer growing season, Kroger employs two full-time buyers and inspectors to personally work with Colorado growers, including the 'Olathe Sweet' sweet corn co-op of growers."

"Olathe Sweet" sweet corn is grown in a mountain climate -- warm days and cool nights -- coupled with melted natural spring snow for irrigation. Throughout the harvest, the Kroger produce inspectors monitor the sweetness of "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn by testing the actual sugar level of each crop.

Prior to harvesting, the corn is inspected to ensure each ear is developed with full kernels from end to end. After inspection, only the top ear on the corn stalk, known as the primary ear, is harvested by hand. This practice ensures that Kroger shoppers may choose from the fullest, sweetest ears of "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn, available in three varieties -- white meat, yellow meat and bi-color meat.

When harvested, "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn is immediately slush iced in the fields enabling the corn to be shipped to coolers within one hour of harvesting. This rapid corn cooling halts the sugar-to-starch process, giving "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn its distinctively sweet taste.

"Olathe Sweet" sweet corn is trademarked to ensure quality freshness. Many varieties of corn are grown near or in Olathe, however, only "Olathe Sweet" is known for its sweet flavor. It can be boiled, steamed or easily prepared in the microwave. However, due to high sugar content, the corn should be carefully prepared to retain its sweet taste.

One of Kroger's lead chefs, Chef Mike who works in Livonia, Mich., says "Olathe sweet corn is such high quality and so sweet that butter and salt aren't needed when preparing. Olathe corn also does not take as long to cook as regular corn." For grilling corn, Chef Mike recommends the following:

  • Do not husk corn until you are ready to grill.
  • Peel off only a little of the husks, leaving about 2-3 layers of husk on the corn. No need for aluminum foil.
  • Soak the corn in-husk in water for a few minutes and then place on a cooler part of the grill.
  • Continue to check the tenderness of the kernels every few minutes. When the kernels feel bouncy (like a water balloon) the corn is ready to be taken off the grill.

To boil, place the "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn in boiling water for no longer than one to one-and-a-half minutes. To steam, remove husks from the corn, place husks over three-fourths inches of water in the bottom of a saucepan. Then, lay the corn on the husks and bring water to a boil; cover and cook 1-2 minutes, then serve immediately. To microwave, pull "Olathe Sweet" sweet corn husks down half way on ear and remove silks. Replace husks, and then place corn on a microwave safe dish and cook for one minute.

Kroger's Chef Mike is an award-winning chef who resides in Ann Arbor, Mich. His background includes working at several of Michigan's premier restaurants in the area, such as The Earl and The Lord Fox in Ann Arbor, and serving as the Executive Chef at the University of Michigan in Dearborn's Henry Ford Estate. Chef Mike graduated with Honors from The Colorado Culinary School. He's involved with the opening of all Kroger stores in Michigan that feature a Premier Chef Station, a gourmet deli featuring heat & serve food, ready-to-go items and a top-notch chef on hand to oversee the gourmet deli and provide suggestions and tips.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation's largest retail grocery chains. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2003, the Company operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,496 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under two dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's, Fry's and Fry's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 792 convenience stores, 445 fine jewelry stores, 395 supermarket fuel centers and 41 food processing plants. The Company contributed $106 million last year to local communities and non-profit organizations. For more information about Kroger, please visit its web site at .

Fun Facts About Corn

  • Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Each tassel on a corn plant releases as many as 5 million grains of pollen.
  • One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of pop.
  • There are about 600 kernels on each ear of corn.
  • A bushel of corn fed to livestock produces 5.6 pounds of retail beef, 13 pounds of retail pork, 32 pounds of chicken, or 28 pounds of catfish.
  • The corn cob (ear) is actually part of the corn plant's flower.
  • The main ingredient in most dry pet food is corn.
  • Pioneers planted 4 corn kernels for every plant they hoped to harvest: "1 for the maggot, 1 for the crow, 1 for the cutworm, and 1 to grow."
  • The corn plant has both male and female parts. The silk is the female part while the tassel is the male part.
  • Sorbitol, produced from the corn sugar dextrose, is used in toothpaste as a low-calorie, water soluble bulking agent.
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