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‘Rainbow’ corn has kernels that look more like gems

In 2012, farmer Greg Schoen posted a photo of a corn cob on Facebook that went viral. So what makes this corn so special? Oh, I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with it looking like a rainbow.

Glass Gem corn has kernels that look more like precious stones. It’s the result of heirloom-style farming and hard work between two friends.

Story goes that Oklahoma farmer Carl Barnes wanted to explore his Native American roots by growing ancient varieties of corn. In the process, he was able to isolate certain traits that made the crops more ornamental.

In 1994, Carl met his soon-to-be BFF, Greg Schoen, at a native-plant event. The latter became fascinated with the rainbow-coloured corn, and in the years that followed Greg –entrusted with the seed collection Carl bestowed upon him – developed more beautiful strains. He even gave them names like Circus Colors, Deep Blue and, of course, Glass Gem.

Schoen eventually passed on the seeds to others, including Bill McDorman, who owned Arizona company Seed Trust. McDorman is now the executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit conservation organisation that sells the seeds online.

Unlike sweet corn, Glass Gem has a hard outer layer, which makes it difficult to eat. So rather than being chewed off the cob, they’re ground into cornmeal or popped (which looks just like normal popcorn) and often used for ornamental purposes.

Via My Modern Met

About the author

Inigo is a writer and graphic designer from Manila, Philippines. He is a soldier of love who will carry you on his strong back of awesomeness when the zombie apocalypse arrives.