A unique corn called the Glass Gem corn has been developed by a Native American farmer in Oklahoma.
The colourful corns which look like boiled sweets or even glass beads were the idea of Cherokee farmer Carl Barnes who noticed that every so often, a cob showed signs of unusual colouring shining through. So he decided to gather colourful ears of corn and breed them together. As the years slowly went on, he managed to produce corn displaying dozens of different colours on a single cob.
Shortly before he passed away, he passed on his seed collection and breeding know-how to his friend Greg Schoen, who later gave the seeds to Bill McDorman, owner of a small seed company in Arizona.
‘I was blown away,’ Mr McDorman said of the first time he grew Glass Gem corn. ‘No one had ever seen corn like this before.’
Today Bill McDorman is the head of Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit organisation which seeks to preserve the agricultural heritage of the Native Americans. The organisation sells Glass Gem seeds through its website and they are so highly sought-after that they are frequently sold out.
The corn can be used to make flour or popcorn, although it is not recommended to eat it straight off the cob.