Heirloom Varieties

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Heirloom Varieties

Unread postby SheepishLion » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:06 pm

Maybe I'm not searching for the right terms, but I haven't gotten any info trying to find it myself, so thought I'd just ask...

I had a friend ask me the other day what varieties are "heirloom" varieties of corn for whiskey production and where he could find some seed. He's got a bit of property (about 15 acres) and has been considering growing some specialty products on it to make a little extra money, so I think that's what brought on the question.

I've seen a lot of craft/micro distillers mention "heirloom" corn varieties, but I haven't been able to find any info on what the actual varieties are.

Even a point in the right direction would be helpful.
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Re: Heirloom Varieties

Unread postby delaware_phoenix » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:34 pm

I'd search for heirloom corn via the search engines and you'll come up with lots of stuff. Talk to the folks at Lakeview Organic Grain in Penn Yan and they will be helpful. Even if your farm isn't certified organic you should do it all organic, forget about using roundup ready seed, no till corn and all that crap. I get a lot of my grain, and so far all my corn from Lakeview Organic. I know they've offered an heirloom corn in the past called Wapsie Valley and I understand that McKenzie Distilling near Watkins Glen uses that (or has).

As far as is known, distillers used both yellow corn and white corn. It probably was less sweet than what is available today but I don't know if distillers — and especially farm distillers — preferred of the old styles, whether they were roasting corn, creamer corn, field corn, or old fashioned kinds of "sweet" corn. Mike? John? any info on this, maybe ads in old distillers journals. It may be that for the old time distillers it didn't matter so much.

Again, I think most corn used for distilling these days is simply red grade corn. I use simply generic organic cracked corn and it seems to produce a nice whiskey. Feel free to contact me as I run a small distillery here in Walton, NY. Google Delaware Phoenix and you can get the number.
Cheryl Lins - Proprietor and distiller, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY
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Re: Heirloom Varieties

Unread postby SheepishLion » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:02 pm

Thanks for the reply. I did check out Lakeview's website and found some helpful info.
I've googled up a bunch of listings of heirloom corn varieties, but nothing that suggests what those varieties were used for originally. I'm not even sure whether he should be looking at flint or dent corn really. We have a fairly short growing season around here, so that would suggest a flint variety, correct?
I've also been trying to get in contact with seed providers with very limited success (ie- none) to see what they might know about the topic.

Thanks again for the reply.

Joe
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Re: Heirloom Varieties

Unread postby ethangsmith » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:43 pm

I can vouch for Cheryl's products being excellent. Her corn whiskey is very fresh and sweet and you can tell the grain used is a great choice!
If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.
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