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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Sweet corn bought from the back of a pickup truck Aug. 31 2019 is a simple summer pleasure.

Better check your ears to see if they're colored peaches and cream from eating too much sweet corn.

Or maybe there's no such thing as too much of that summer season treat. But alas, the season for buying fresh sweet corn off the back of a pickup is drawing to a close. Folks at the sweet corn truck where I shop say the season will be over by month's end.

Now the good news. The truck people say sweet corn in the husk freezes well so now is a good time to get your ears on and stock up.

For most of summer, the barbecue grill has sizzled with burgers, ribs or brats next to a big ear of sweet corn. It's so easy to cook. Just remove the husks and put the corn on the grill for a few minutes, turning it now and then. It's hard to mess up.

Or dig into a cookbook for a fancied-up recipe to elevate your ears to a new level. Some backyard chefs like to grill their corn in the husks. Others soak their ears, husks and all, in water then grill. Cook it on the stove or in a microwave. Any way you make it, nothing says summer like chowing down on a warm, buttery ear.

At the sweet corn truck, you usually get more than you pay for. The going price where I shop is six ears for four dollars, but the guy always throws in a couple extra ears. Says his corn is grown up around Anderson, Mo.

He's seriously into quality control. There at the tailgate, each ear gets shucked just a tad to make sure it's good inside. Sometimes you get bugs or a worm, he tells me. If it's not up to standards it gets tossed in a pile just below the truck's windshield.

One Saturday I stopped to get a dozen ears, six for me and six for some neighbors. A gal staffed the sweet corn truck on this visit, sporting blue shorts, cowboy boots and a gallery of tattoos.

"I'm gonna make it 18 because these ears are kind of small," she piped. I handed her one of the reusable shopping bags I keep in the car. She filled it with 19 ears, but only charged me for 12.

What I like about this pickup sweet corn is there's a piece of stem left on the ear when it gets harvested in the field. That stem makes a handy handle when taking a bite, sort of like eating a corn dog.

My personal record for the most ears of sweet corn eaten at one sitting is six. That was at lunch one time during the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, Ragbrai for short. It's a week-long rolling party with 12,000 or more riders through corn country.

Every town on the route rolls out the red carpet and some have giant sweet corn cookers to feed the pedaling herd. I had no trouble scarfing down six delicious ears dipped in melted butter.

At Ragbrai, there's tons of sweet corn and any kind of food a rider could want. Tables sag, laden with thick wedges of home-made pie. Pit masters serve grilled pork chops the size of a catcher's mitt. Riders testify that Ragbrai may be the only 500-mile bicycle ride where you gain weight.

Truth be told, tasty sweet corn can be bought most of the year at your local grocery store. That'll tide us over until next summer when the sweet corn truck rides again.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at

Sports on 09/17/2019

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