Davis Ranch Corn Festival

Another form of California gold is corn.  Even in this severe California drought and with fire season in full force, people still flock to the Davis Corn Ranch Festival in Sloughhouse.  The extremely family-friendly and dog-friendly annual event is a chance for me and Mister Jack to take a drive into the country for our usual two grocery bags filled with white and yellow corn.  Using California State Route 16, tiny Sloughhouse is only 17 miles east of Downtown Sacramento.   Another plus?  The corn is GMO-free.  Their outdoor fruit and vegetable market is open most of the year.  It also sells goodies like jams, jellies, barbecue sauce, dried gourds and ornaments for your garden.

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Admission to the Davis Ranch Corn Festival is free of charge.  We stayed long enough to grab a quick, cheap meal,  sit on hay bales and listen to the Chris Gardner Band.  While children played in the “dried corn box” at the back of the makeshift concert location, Gardner explained to the audience that he came from the Sloughhouse area.  I approached him during a short break, and he explained that his band performed at the California State Fair the night before.  And they were headed to Lake Tahoe for another performance–as well as a way to escape the valley heat.  He mentioned more gigs over the summer.  Gardner and his band also perform at numerous locations in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.

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The Davis Ranch can accommodate crowds.  The parking lot has expanded since I first visited in the late 80s.  There is a picnic area next to the strawberry patch.  At the back of the parking lot, you’ll see the Christmas tree lot.  Besides the numerous food, drink and craft booths, there are hay rides, pony rides and other activities for children and their families.

If you missed the Davis Ranch Corn Festival in Sloughhouse this year, there’s always next year.  If you’re interested in gourd arts and crafts, entertainment and food, the upcoming 6th Annual Davis Ranch Gourd Festival will be held on September 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The gourd artist has plenty of choices when it comes to buying gourds from the ranch.

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For more information, here’s a link:  www.davisranchgourdfestival.com

9 comments

  1. marlenebertrand · July 16, 2014

    It looks like you had a great time at the festival. I really enjoy country-type events. Sitting on haystacks under a tent may be too “country” for some folks, but I like simple things like that – no fancy chairs, just haystacks. If you saw the cornstalks growing in my back yard, then you would see how much hubby and I like corn. Fresh is best. I can see why you and Mister Jack would bring bags to fill with fresh veggies. I have never heard about this festival. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Arlene Poma · July 17, 2014

      At least you can grow corn, Marlene! My former mother-in-law introduced me to Davis Ranch. She used to buy 25 grocery bags at a time because she had some kind of racket going on at work. Everyone was too lazy to drive to Sloughhouse, so she would take orders and pick up bags of corn for her friends and co-workers. She taught me to place the corn directly into the freezer. I still do it. The cornsilk and the husks protect the kernels so I can use the corn as needed. We both grew up in the country, so we love going to fairs and festivals. In Sacramento and Placer Counties, there are numerous events that celebrate certain crops. I have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, we’ll be going to the California State Fair this weekend. The agriculture exhibits will also have cooking demonstrations as well as gardening ideas and advice. I always take my camera so that I can record ideas to use on our home landscaping. Always something new at the fair.

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  2. ChgoJohn · July 17, 2014

    This looks like a lot of fun — and I do love my corn! It’s just beginning to appear in our farmers markets but I’ holding off for another week or so. Good tip about freezing it, husk and all. I always thought that corn had to be par-boiled to break down some enzyme before being frozen. I’m definitely going to try your Mom’s method. Always nice to enjoy corn on the cob long after the season has ended. Thanks, Arlene.

    • Arlene Poma · July 17, 2014

      John, sooooo good to hear from you! Yeah, I love going to country fairs because being in the country brings me back to my childhood. I grew up in the Sacramento River Delta, and a part of me died when we moved to Sacramento. We like corn on the cob during the summer. At Davis Ranch, the corn is GMO-free. You can get white or yellow corn. Lately, I’ve seen a blend of the white or yellow. Somewhere. We like both. My former mother-in-law swore that white corn is sweeter, but corn is corn. We love it with our summer barbecues. We love it during the rest of the year because it’s so easy to use with stews and in many side dishes. I also like to use corn to put some OOOOMPH in my cornbread. I am way too lazy to strip corn from the cob and freeze it. Or cut it into smaller sections. I don’t mind stripping the husks. I’ll only go out of my way to strip kernels if I want to make a recipe that requires it. Otherwise, I’ll keep corn in its natural state. Right now, our bags of corn are still in the two grocery bags. In our freezer. For the two of us, in the past, we’ve bought as many as four bags to freeze. I think there’s about 24 ears of corn in each bag. Anyway, I left the freezer door open a couple of years ago. So there went all that corn. Wasted. By freezing the corn in their own packages provided by Mother Nature, we usually have corn until the following year. That’s why we make the Davis Ranch Corn Festival an annual habit. Even in this severe drought, they were able to produce. It’s all about supporting California farmers and their families right now. And the people who work very hard to harvest the crops. They have families to feed, too. California would be nothing without agriculture.

  3. marlenebertrand · July 17, 2014

    I have never heard of freezing corn in the husk. I’m excited about this. Arlene, this might sound like a silly question, but when I’m ready to cook the corn, am I able to shuck it while it is still frozen, or do I need to let it thaw out for a while, then shuck and cook it?

    • Arlene Poma · July 18, 2014

      Busted! You must have been channeling me, Marlene! I was making some shepherd’s pie for dinner yesterday, and I was going to use an ear of Sloughhouse corn. It was already frozen. I usually defrost the corn and use it, but this time, I was too impatient. I tried stripping away at the husks, but my hands got too cold. So I yanked off the cornsilk and left the remaining greenery alone. I placed it on a Pyrex pie dish and threw it in the microwave (HIGH for approximately three minutes). So as I put the shepherd’s pie together, I only remembered the corn in the microwave AFTER I put the shepherd’s pie in the oven for about ten minutes. Don’t you hate that when that happens? So when I finally remembered the corn, I took it out of the microwave. Know what? It was cooked! All I needed to do was peel off the green and devour it! Yup! Could not resist. Make sure you watch it because you know corn does not grow cookie cutter. I just got lucky. Also, because of the heat, I no longer boil my corn for four minutes, then cover it up until I’m ready to serve it. Now, for just the two of us, I take two ears of corn (no husk!) and cook it in the microwave for about six minutes on HIGH to save on time. Again, you’ve gotta watch that microwave timing. Anyway, Marlene, you gave me more information for more posts. Yeah, by all means. Hit the food bloggers. I will go to them for information before I will watch a celebrity chef. I don’t want to be entertained when I want cooking and baking information because when celebrities on any show bring in their families and famous so-called celebrity friends, I get sooooo turned off. I no longer watch cooking shows unless they happen to be on KVIE (public education). Those clowns on the cooking channels make millions on their books, cookware and public appearances, but since they cook for the masses, most of the stuff they prepare would kill me. Really. I don’t put massive pork fat, butter, sugar, dairy or white flour in my cooking and baking. Period. I don’t follow this particular TV crowd because I don’t want to die by way of junk food, gluten, and empty calories. I don’t trust TV because as someone with journalism experience and a minor in film, I know the game of hard sell when it comes to the media. I’ve been interviewed on TV and radio. And I get what happens in the background, and it’s stuff that most viewers don’t see. Well, I see things for what they are. I know how film can be sliced, diced and distorted to make something look good. I don’t care to support those spoiled celebrity brats who call themselves chefs because they have a lot of help. In my eyes, they don’t have talent. They are driven by money. Give me a food blogger who isn’t bought by the food industry and kitchen products. I choose my food bloggers very carefully because once I get hooked on their writing, recipes and photography, I will be a forever fan.

  4. marlenebertrand · July 18, 2014

    Lots of good information, Arlene. Corn must be in season because I’m seeing more and more stuff about corn. Yesterday I saw a quick hint about how to cook corn. The chef cooks the corn in the microwave without shucking it. She cuts off the stem end of the corn and then places the corn in the microwave for four minutes. She takes the corn out of the microwave. She picks the corn up at the uncut end and then shakes it down. The silk and husk falls right off. I want to try it to see if it really works.

    • Arlene Poma · July 19, 2014

      I’m sure that will work! What I do like about boiling corn is that you don’t have to worry about possible dried kernels from the microwave. I used to let the frozen corn sit on the counter to defrost, then shuck it before boiling them. I’ll probably go back to boiling the corn because it only takes four minutes. But because it’s been so hot, I very seldom use my stove top or my oven. If I were a rabbit, I would easily live off salads this summer. NOT!!!! Summer in California is all about family and friends over for barbecues. The less cooking I have to do–the better!

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