Campus sweet corn available May 30, harvest underway

MEDIA  UPDATE

May 30, 2014 — 3 p.m.

Sweet corn sells out in 90 minutes first day – 9,914 ear
About 9,914 ears of Fresno State sweetcorn were sold within 90 minutes today at the Gibson Farm Market for the first day of the 2014 corn season.

The market began sales at 11:30 a.m. and customers ran through 22 bins by 1:18 p.m. when the student-run store sold out for the day to ring up $3,271.59 in sales on day one, reported Nina Palomino, farm market interim manager.

Farm market proceeds benefit Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology programs and students.

“Our students thank our customers for their support today,” Palomino said.

A new crop will be delivered Saturday morning and available for purchase at 9 a.m. and also on Sunday. The corn will be available daily through Labor Day but moves out the door fast.

HOURS: 559.278.4511 or online: Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market.

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Harvest has begun for Fresno State’s campus-grown white sweet corn, which will be in the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 30 until supplies last for the day.

The corn will be sold through Labor Day but supplies go fast every day. The first few days, shoppers will be permitted inside the store in groups of about 10 with lines formed outside to help alleviate crowded conditions, said Nina Palomino, farm market interim manager.

The sweet corn will again be sold at three ears for 99 cents, or 33 cents per ear.

Also this year, a new version will be introduced: organic bi-colored sweet corn that will be available June 6, said Gary Chavira, field crop manager for University Agriculture Laboratory.

Each June, Fresno State’s corn draws inquiries from all over California and beyond. Joseph Rodrigues, a student lead at the market, said the corn was once Fresno’s best kept secret but has become famed beyond the San Joaquin Valley.

“Originally, only those who already knew about the Gibson Farm Market, and those who happened to come across our quiet store, knew about our amazing secrets such as freshly picked produce to the delicious ice cream,” Rodrigues said.

However, as the corn began to grow in popularity over the years, so did its legend.

The Gibson Farm Market has been operating since the 1980s, beginning as a roadside fruit stand until moving into its first building on the corner of Barstow and Chestnut avenues.

In 2013, the market relocated down the road to 5368 N. Chestnut Ave. where students continue to sell products from 20 enterprises of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. The store expanded to 4,800 square feet — nearly double the first store, thanks to a $1.5 million

dollar bequest from the estate of Joyce Mae Gibson, which was announced in 2008.

Through the enterprises, Jordan College students get hands-on experience growing, processing, packaging and selling more than $1 million in products each year with proceeds benefit the university’ agriculture programs and students.

“At the beginning of the 21st century,” Rodrigues said, “the staff of the Farm Market wanted to expand our clientele. Today, we have branched out to the community with our various media centers and we will continue to grow.”

Palomino said the community’s support has been an integral part in helping the store succeed and grow. “The community is a true partner in advancing our student research and product development,” Palomino said.

Corn sales for 2013 were $212,972.52 with about 600,000 ears sold. Another 300,000 ears were sold at off-campus outlets.

To prepare for the 2014 corn season, the Gibson Farm Market recently hired eight more students for the summer in addition to the 14 students already employed by the market.

Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College, said this year’s crop has endured current conditions and is ready to go.

“Although California is in the middle of a drought, the Fresno State farm and our market expect to keep up with the demand for the corn,” Boyer said.

The Gibson Farm Market’s summer hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

The Gibson Farm Market also is preparing for its Eighth Annual Fresno State Farm Festival Saturday, July 12. The event will feature corn and other summer products with free samples in the morning and a wine tasting in the afternoon. All proceeds benefit the Jordan College.

For more information, contact Nina Palomino 559.278.4511 or farmmarket@fresnostate.edu.                                                 

(Charmayne Hefley, a junior Agricultural Communications major from Madera, contributed to this story.)

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Tom Uribes

written by

Public Affairs Specialist, University Communications
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