Knee high by the fifth of July

July 5, 2011

The saying actually goes "knee high by the Fourth of July" and they were talking about corn. If the corn planted in the spring had grown to at least knee high by then that was a good sign for a great harvest.

This year in the Chicago area we've had a very wet and chilly spring so farmers planted corn late. It's not nearly that high around here but downstate it's a different story. Some stalks have already reached chest high.

But it's more than just the weather. It can be the land, seeds, treatment. We have so much more to consider now than when this folk saying was said without needing an explanation.

The field in the photo above is just outside Chicago and it's filled with sunflowers this year, not corn. The family that owns it alternates it with sunflowers one year and corn the next. Neither is grown for local food.

By late summer this year thousands of gold fringed faces will slowly turn to meet the sun until they fade, droop, and drop their seeds.

Today I'm grateful for the chance to plant some seeds for this food blog. I'm planning to share stories about food, recipes, restaurants, and food politics - or as they say, "how the sausage gets made" - in Chicago and the Greater Midwest.

But first I need to thank Steve Dolinsky - who created this blog - and who's entrusted it to me. I also need to thank in advance my editor Justin Kaufmann.

I'm looking forward to see what and how we - you and I too - will all grow together.