Hachiretsu Corn from Hokkaido

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Hokkaido Hachiretsu corn is a local ecotype of the North Frint type. There are two types of Frint corn, the tropical Calibia Frint and North Frint. The most commonly-found type of corn is Calibia which was brought by the Portuguese, while the North type was imported to Hokkaido from America in the Meiji period in the late 19th century (1891 to be precise) by Arthur A. Brigam, a professor at the Sapporo university of agricultural science. This corn variety has adapted to the cool local microclimate and developed certain special features which distinguish today’s Hachiretsu from other types of corn. Hachiretsu always has eight rows of grains and can be grown in cold areas like Hokkaido. Hachiretsu is emblematic of a difficult period in Hokkaido’s agricultural history. Cultivation of this variety dates back to the tillage of the island. Due to pollination in limited environments, after five generations corn begins to weaken genetically so in the past farmers have tried to carry out pollination and selections to limit this problem. Over time the large-grained type has been selected and has adapted perfectly to the local environment. The sweet flavour typical of modern “sweet corn” is not found in this type which has an unusual aroma. The cob can be eaten roasted immediately after harvesting or Okayu (rice soup) can be made from corn dried over the winter. The dried corn can also be used in the sweet dish “Don”, while cornflour is used to make Dango (cereal rissoles). It is also eaten mixed with rice. Hachiretsu corn is dying out today, also because two days after harvesting it hardens and is therefore difficult to sell. Few people grow it and enjoy the unusual flavour of this corn, so its market is extremely limited. There are about 30 producers and 6 Ha cultivated, the annual top production is about 33t of weight.

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Cereals and flours