Nothing says “summer” more than a cookout with plenty of locally grown sweet corn. Whether you grill it, boil it, eat it raw, or incorporate it into a soup or salsa, eating sweet corn is truly a rite of summer.
But finding really good sweet corn, the kind that you might even present as a gift, is a challenge. Residents of the small beach community of Huron, Ohio, believe that the best sweet corn that can be found anywhere is grown right in their backyard by Huron farmer Gordon Hahn and his family.
The Hahn family established its homestead on Bogart Road in Huron Township in 1880 and immediately began farming the 80 acres surrounding the farmhouse. Fast-forward more than 130 years, and there are still members of the Hahn family farming the same land. Today, the Hahn Farm comprises 200 acres, and the values and traditions of the family, as well as many of the farming practices, remain the same.
Gordon Hahn has farmed since he was old enough to walk and has never imagined doing anything else. His wife, Mary, and their four children—Lucas, Eric, Ann Marie, and Laura—have all contributed to running the family farm. He proudly declares that all of his children have “been a big help on the farm since they were young children” and farming has taught the family valuable lessons.
Of their 200 acres, the Hahns devote 35 acres to sweet corn, four to vegetables, four to fruit including apples and peaches, and the remaining acreage to field corn, soybeans, and wheat. Though the sweet corn accounts for only a fraction of their farming, it is the crop that most defines the Hahn farm and which has brought the family local fame. Gordon takes pride in choosing the finest seed for his sweet corn, and he considers the specific seed variety his trade secret.
“I am always self-conscious about the quality of the corn and give customers the best that I can give them,” he says.
In addition to choosing high-quality seed, he lovingly nurtures the corn during the growing season, and he recognizes that he is “blessed with good soil and good temperatures regulated by Lake Erie.” Even at the end of the growing cycle, Gordon emphasizes the importance of knowing when to pick in order to give his customers corn that is at the peak of its flavor.
Each morning during the summer and early fall, Gordon and his helpers harvest about 300 dozen ears of corn. Unlike most commercially available sweet corn, Hahn’s corn is harvested by hand to ensure the finest quality. Because Gordon plants on a schedule of every five to seven days from April through mid-July, his sweet corn is available from mid-July through mid-October.
The first day of harvest is a major event in Huron, and word passes quickly that Hahn’s corn is available. Throughout the season, area residents flock to the farm in such large numbers that Gordon typically sells out of each day’s harvest. Should there be some corn that does not sell on any given day, the Hahns donate the excess to a local food pantry. Each day, customers can be certain that the corn they purchase is freshly picked and at the peak of its ripeness. If the corn is beyond its peak or something has gone wrong with the crop, the Hahn family would rather leave the corn in the field than sell a sub-standard product.
Farming does not make for an easy life, but it is rewarding. Gordon has always taken great satisfaction in the fact that he produces food, and Mary shares her husband’s commitment: “Farming is the most important job in the world,” she says, “because no one can survive without food.”
In just a few short years, Gordon will reach the milestone of having harvested corn for 50 years. At that point, he will reconsider what the future of the Hahn Farm will be. Until then, Huron residents and anyone else who chooses to venture to the Hahn Farm will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the sweetest, plumpest, most succulent corn available anywhere, chat with the family that grows it, and know that their patronage supports a traditional Ohio family farm.
Hahn’s corn, as well as their other produce, is available seven days per week from 10am until they sell out each day. The Hahn Farm is located at 804 Bogart Rd. in Huron. 419.433.7701