Fresno State sweet corn arrives -- sells out in less than 2 hours (video)

The Fresno BeeMay 29, 2014 

Update: Fresno State sweet corn is sold out for the day. More than 300 people waited in line Friday outside the Gibson Farm Market to buy the season's first pick of the popular corn. The doors to the market opened at 11:30 a.m., and the corn was sold out by 1:18 p.m.

But don't worry, more of the white and yellow sweet corn will be available Saturday and Sunday, starting at 9 a.m.

Fresno State sweet corn has arrived. Let the craziness begin.

Every year, the first picking of the college-grown sweet corn sets off a frenzy among central San Joaquin Valley shoppers.

Friday, the first official day that corn is available, hundreds of people are expected visit the student-run Gibson Farm Market at Barstow and Chestnut avenues to snag as much corn as they can carry.

Corn will be available at 11:30 a.m. Friday until supplies last.

It is not unusual to see people walk out of the store with 10 plastic bags stuffed with ears of white and yellow corn.

Fresno State corn fan Sandy Back of North Fork took home 40 ears for her family last year. And she expects to return for more this year.

"We love it because it tastes really good," Back said. "It really is better than what you can find at the store, and it's so fresh."

Although Fresno State will have corn for at least three months, supplies go fast during the first few days.

Last year, during the first hour of sales, the corn-hungry crowd bought 6,200 ears. And by 3 p.m., the market sold out for the day, selling 34,000 ears to shatter the one-day record of 28,000 set in 2011.

For the season, the school sold about 600,000 ears at the farm market and another 300,000 were sold at off-campus outlets.

This year promises to be no different, school officials say.

"This is a quite an interesting phenomenon," said Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. "But it starts with the obvious, this is high-quality and freshly picked corn. People know that when they buy it they are going to get a great sweet corn experience."

The students produce white and yellow corn and this year they will have organic, bi-colored sweet corn, said Preston Farris of Fresno State's Agricultural Operations.

The organic corn will be available in several weeks.

"We have expanded our whole organics program and wanted to give corn a try," Farris said. "And so far the field looks really good."

To help ease the crush for corn over the next few days, market managers will limit the number of people inside the store to about 10. A line will form outside the store.

Nina Palomino, farm market interim manager, said extra student employees will be on hand to help manage the sale.

Like last year, the price is three ears for 99 cents or 33 cents each.

The Gibson Farm Market is at 5368 N. Chestnut Ave.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6327, or @FresnoBeeBob on Twitter.

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