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Paradise farmer crosses sweet corn with painted

October 2nd, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life, Business

By Anya Aether

PARADISE–Farmer Joseph Lofthouse can usually be found every Wednesday at Paradise Market selling homegrown vegetables. He sells a variety of vegetables from cantaloupe to butternut squash, but not all his vegetables are quite what they seem. Joseph Lofthouse's corn. Photo by Anya Aether

Lofthouse has been working with an online group from homegrowngoodness.blogspot.com to combine two species of corn into one. The online group has been working on this project for a total of six years, though Lofthouse has been part of it for only two years.

The first type is commercial sweet corn that is found in most grocery stores. The other is Painted Mountain, a type of Indian corn which comes in most colors from blue to red and it grows far better in Utah’s cold, dry climate than ssweet corn does. The goal of combining these two corns is to have a colorful, sweet corn that can survive better in this climate.

Lofthouse was influenced by the economy to start his share of this crossing project. “It’s really pricey to buy corn here and the Painted Mountain grows better in the dry weather.”

He gardened when he was younger as a hobby and now that his house has been paid in full, he can afford to do what he loves for a living. “I usually make enough just selling on the side of the road.”

Before he became a full time farmer Lofthouse was a biochemist for 20 years, working on a pesticide research program. “I have a very negative view towards pesticides. I grow organic so I don’t use pesticides at all. I’d rather put more work in it than poison my garden.”

To follow Lofthouse’s corn breeding project, visit his website at garden.lofthouse.com.

NW

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