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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet Corn- It Isn't a Dollar a Dozen Any More!

Sweet Corn Price

Sweet Corn Price- How much for a dozen ears?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

How Much Does Sweet Corn Cost?

I remember when I was a kid, sweet corn was a dollar per dozen ears.  Apparently, those days are long gone...

This year, I noticed that sweet corn prices were pushing above $5 per dozen, with my favorite roadside stand now charging $5.50 per dozen.  In grocery stores, the price is 50 cents per ear, which works out to $6 per dozen.

Sweet corn price- sweet corn is going for $6 per dozen in grocery stores
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Is sweet corn at this price still a good deal?  I think fresh sweet corn is hard to beat for taste, and it is a summer tradition.  But how much would you pay for sweet corn?  If sweet corn cost $10 per dozen, would you still buy it?  At some price point, more and more people would either stop buying sweet corn, or grown their own.

I have grown my own sweet corn in my garden before.  It isn't hard to grow, but it does take some space in your garden.  Each corn plant produces 2 or 3 ears, so you need about four to six corn plants to get a dozen ears.  Some of the drawbacks I encountered growing my own sweet corn were 1) the ears were quite a bit smaller than the giant ears I get at my favorite roadside stand, and 2) since I planted all my corn at the same time, it was all mature at the same time.

I think fertilizer and watering more could help me get larger ears to address item one.  If I wanted a supply of sweet corn over a longer harvest window, I could plant seeds a week apart over several weeks.  So with a bit of effort, I could grow my own sweet corn instead of buying it.  I buy sweet corn maybe four times during the summer.  So this adds up to about $22 at current prices.  I could buy a pack of sweet corn seeds for about $2 and grow my own and save $20.

Is Sweet Corn a Good Deal?

But back to my question- is $5.50 per dozen a good deal?  I should mention that a dozen ears from my farmer where I buy actually means 13 or 14 ears- he throws in a few extra.  I think this is still a great food value.  What else can you get for dinner for $5.50 that is healthy and create such a great summertime memory?

Grow your own sweet corn and save money!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Since I recently moved, I have a new chance to plan a garden next year.  Although I think buying fresh sweet corn is a good deal, growing my own sounds even better.  I'll see if I can get a couple rows of sweet corn in this spring.

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