Tuesday, October 17, 2017

All Things Corn on the #KSCornTour





Disclaimer: This post and the #KSCornTour are sponsored by Kansas Corn, which is a collaboration of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and the Kansas Corn Commission. They paid for all of my travel expenses and compensated me for this post. However, my writings, views, opinions, thoughts, and cravings are entirely my own.  


What do you know about corn? Specifically, what happens once it’s harvested?

I thought I knew a lot. My grandparent’s farm grew corn every summer. I watched it being harvested and knew the cows came running anytime my grandfather (and later my father) poured corn kernels into the feeding trough. This corn wasn’t like the kind we boiled and slathered with butter. This was hard corn meant to feed animals.



That was pretty much all I knew…until a few weeks ago when I joined a group of bloggers on the #KSCornTour. The folks at KS Corn are passionate about this grain and wanted to show us all it can do besides feeding animals and human beings.



Here’s what I learned:

1.     Corn makes a smooth vodka: Our first stop was Wheat State Distilling in Wichita, where they make vodka out of wheat and corn. They also make other tasty spirits and serve a wonderful charcuterie plate for an appetizer.







2.  Corn makes a sustainable fuel: Our next visit was to Kansas Ethanol, where we watched them haul in semis of corn to turn into ethanol that fuels our cars--among other things. Our state’s 12 ethanol plants produce nearly half a billion gallons of the clean-burning fuel. And, once the ethanol is made, the remaining mushy corn pulp is turned into wet and dry, high-nutrient distillers grains that feed livestock. (Kansas Corn works hard to protect Renewable Fuels Standards that provide a market for our ethanol fuel.)

3.     A lot of our corn is exported to other countries: Ask just about any Kansas Farmer, and he or she will tell you their vision is not only to feed their families, Kansas, and the US, but also the World. They think on a global scale. A lot of the Kansas corn is brought to grain elevators like this one run by Mid Kansas Coop, where semis and railcars start the corn’s worldwide journey.



4.     Corn does make a tasty meal: I don’t have to tell you how delicious Kansas sweet corn can be. You can grill it like we did at All Things BBQ, or you can cook it into many delicious dishes, like the corn chowder I enjoy so much at Public at the Brickyard that I forgot to take a photo before I ate it! Thank goodness they gave me the recipe—which I will share with you soon! Stay tuned!



















5.     Every time I go on a trip like this Kansas Corn Tour, it makes me appreciate the hard work and dedication of our farmers. We enjoyed lunch with the Splitter family on their farm, where we had the chance to see the amazing equipment that helps them do their work.






 
     I started following Matt Splitter on Instagram, and lately, he’s posting videos of planting winter wheat to be harvested next June! And he’s doing it at night! It is easy to take a farmer for granted as we consume the result of their labor.








  Take a minute and thank a farmer.