Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn

Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn

Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn; Image Credit Pigliapost on Flickr

After more than five years in development, the Indiana State Museum is opening Amazing Maize: The Science, History and Culture of Corn this week, for a 16-month run through January of 2013.

 

Why Corn? is the first of six sections in the exhibition, pointing out the more than 4,200 different uses for corn products in our culture. It takes 25 corn plants per person every day in American to sustain our way of life.  As you walk through the gallery, you follow a 10,000 year genetic journey that shows the evolution of the corn plan from the time of the ancient Mesoamericans when a teosinte plant was first domesticated and shaped for specific traits. Artifacts such as hand-powered farm tools, stone and wood corn grinders, and examples of dozens of different species of corn are highlighted, as well as an 11-foot Indiana corn god based on those of Mesoamerican cultures.

 

Other sections of the exhibition show Americans and Europeans’ growing dependence on this crop, as it goes global and dramatically changes our cultures, even playing a part in the development of the slave trade.  The chronology of the exhibit continues on to just prior to World War II, as scientists began to cross-breed higher-yielding corn varieties, followed by the introduction of mechanized tools in American farms. Farmers were now better able to manage thousands of acres of corn fields, and their yield was becoming a commodity, rather than just being used within their own farm and family.  Present-day genetic research, with an assist from sponsor Dow AgroScience, completes the exhibit, as visitors learn about genetic modifications to improve corn’s productivity and hardiness.  Overall, visitors will be amazed at the scientific, economic and cultural significance and impact that this domesticated grass (corn) has on daily life, both past and present.

 

Amazing Maize is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, Ford Motor Company, Case IH, National Starch, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and Brock Grain Systems.

 

If you can’t make it to Indiana, here are some great local fall pumpkin and corn festivals to visit:

Cochise County

Apple Annie’s

Fall Pumpkin Celebration:  Old fashioned family fun picking your own pumpkins, fall vegetables and apples.  U-pick pumpkins and produce for sale. Visit the farm or place an order online.  Open Daily, beginning October 1. Farm closes for the season Oct 31.  7:00-5:30 p.m.  For more information, call 520.384.2084 or visit AppleAnnies.com

Maricopa County

Mother Nature’s Farm  

See the world’s heaviest pumpkins at the World Pumpkin Weigh Off on Oct 1 at 9:00 am.  Enjoy a fall gourd show, U-pick pumpkins, squash, and produce for sale.  Annual Pumpkin Festival Begins October 1.  Open October 1 ─ Nov 4 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. 7 days a week.  Admission and times vary.  For more information, call480.892.5874  or visit mothernaturesfarm.com

Schnepf Farms 

Pumpkin & Chili Party open every Thursday through Sunday beginning October 1.  Admission includes Rides!  Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.   Admission is $15.00 per person. Children 2 and under are free.  Discount Tickets ($3.00 off) can be purchased at Fry’s Marketplace.  For more information, call 480.987.3100 or visit schnepffarms.com

Tolmachoff Farms

Pumpkin Days & Fall Maze:  Visit one of the last family farms in the city!  Open every day beginning Oct 1.  Family Maze, Hay Maze, Petting Zoo and Play Areas.  U-pick pumpkins and produce for sale.  Admission is $8.00 each, children under 2 are free. Train Ride $2.00 each.   For more information, call623.386.1301 or visit tolmachoff-farms.com

Pumpkin Festival and Corn Maze

Fall Brings Pumpkin Festivals; Image Credit Persocomholic on Flickr

Pima County

Buckelew Farm Pumpkin Festival & Corn Maze

Enjoy a day at the farm with horse drawn wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin off of the vine. We also have a corn maze, haunted cornfield, arts and crafts, petting zoo, pedal carts, food booths and a beer garden.  Open the last four weekends in October, 10 a.m. ─ 5 p.m.   Admission is $4.00 each. Kids in diapers are free.   Buckelew Farm is just 30 minutes from Tucson. For more information, visit buckelewfarm.com or call520.822.2277.

Pinal County

Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch

Stop and feed the ostrich and deer as well as gather some great ostrich products such as ostrich feather dusters, eggshells, and even eating eggs!    Fun for all Ages!  $5.00 per person, age 5 & under free.  Interstate 10 at the Picacho Peak exit #219.  Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  For more information, visit roostercogburn.com or call 520.466.3658.

Yavapai County

Freeman Farms Pumpkin Festival:  Enjoy the scenery of a real working farm. U-pick Fresh pumpkins grown on the Farm!  You can wind your way through the corn maze, ride the Hay rides, watch demonstrations about animals, wildlife, farming and more!  Fun for the whole family.

Boutique Pumpkin Patch located in Chino Valley

Open every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in October from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For directions and more information, visit azpumpkins.com/pumpkin.htm or call 520.850.3990.

Mortimer Family Farm

Bring back the rich farming history of Dewey-Humboldt and identifying the traditions of the past in this landmark farming community.  Family Fun Day and Pumpkin Harvest- Begins Sunday October 1.  Pumpkin Harvest, games, food vendors, BBQ, pies, grilled corn, Farm animal Kingdom, Hay rides and a Barrel train.  Open Friday, 12 – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.  For more information, visit mortimerfamilyfarms.com or call 928.830.1116.

Remember…you can always go to http://www.fillyourplate.org   for a complete direct-market product directory.

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