Mirai Sweet Corn: Sweeter than Sweet

Mirai Sweet Corn: Sweeter than Sweet

The scientist who developed Mirai® was attempting to create a disease resistant corn hybrid. Instead, he ended up with Mirai®, a

strikingly sweet and tender corn that has been available in Japan since the 1990s and is slowly becoming available here. Mirai® is so delicate that the ears must be harvested by hand—hence the Japanese market. In Japan the farmers are quite willing to grow small patches of the intensely flavorful corn and harvest it carefully by hand, then charge a premium mark-up of as much as 50%.

Mirai®, which crudely translated from the Japanese means "taste of the future," was created in 1993, without the use of biotechnology or genetic manipulations (unlike Monsanto's corn hybrids) is so sweet that many people are calling it dessert corn and even eating it raw. Mirai® comes in a variety of types, including white, yellow, and bi-colored. It tends to have kernels all the way to the tip, and, atypical of corn, it improves if it's allowed to sit in the husk at least three days after harvest.

For the last few years, Mirai® has been available in small quantities in local markets, mostly targeting the restaurant trade where Mirai® has very quickly become a fast favorite. Mirai® likes to be grown away from other corn varieties, with more space left between rows, which makes it ideal for small home gardeners and specialty growers. If you're interested in trying to grow Mirai® in your own garden, it's a little late this year, but you can find seeds at Kitazawa Seeds, and Park Seed Company. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find a small farm stand selling Mirai®. The hybrid developer has a stand in Harvard, Illinois.