Every summer, Canadians from Alberta and beyond look forward to enjoying sweet, delicious Taber corn. Tragically, this year's harvest has come to an abrupt end. After a summer of less-than-ideal weather, a vicious hail storm hit Taber corn fields. As can be expected, Albertans are freaking out.
Taber, Alberta is known as the "Corn Capital of Canada," and for good reason. Their corn is crisp, sweet, full of flavour, and plentiful because of the amount of sun the town normally receives. You can find Taber corn at roadside stands, farmer's markets, and at some Albertan grocers. Taber also hosts their annual Cornfest every August. Sadly, it's not looking good for Cornfest or Taber corn, in general, this year.
We spoke to James and Joe Johnson of Johnson Fresh Farms to get the scoop.
A massive hail storm came through on Tuesday night. "It didn’t last very long, only about five or eight minutes and that was long enough to watch all of our crops disappear before our eyes,” James Johnson told Narcity in an interview.
"It’s the worst hail storm I’ve seen in the 20 years of my farming career," Joe Johnson told us. Winds were clocked at 150 km/h during the storm, he explained. "Hundreds of hours of work were flattened by a 10-minute hail storm." These poor farmers had no means to protect their crops from the abrupt and aggressive storm.
Joe explained that 90% of their crops were ruined. There was one section of the corn that wasn't damaged because it is located on the other side of Taber.
As for the crops that were damaged, "There are spots that just barely got hit that we might still try and market in a bit of a 'hail sale,'" James Johnson told us, noting that it would be a shame to watch it all go to waste.
It wasn't just Johnson Fresh Farms that took a serious blow. Countless Taber farms watched their crops get destroyed at the hands of mother nature. "There are a lot of our neighbors that we feel horrible for, too. In our area there were some beautiful crops, there really were," James Johnson said.
As for the reaction of Albertans, near and far, it's exactly what you'd expect. Complete and utter dismay. James told us that their family farm has received hundreds of messages, calls, and personal visits from customers over the past week.
Canadians really are the friendliest people around. In addition to making visits and sending sentiments, people are also taking to the internet to express their grief over the lost corn.
We Albertans really do love our Taber corn.
Some Taber corn fans are even beginning to discuss how to protect themselves from Taber corn imposters.
In addition, during this time that's deeply impacted Alberta farmers, Albertans are taking to the internet to express their support and sympathy in the most heartwarming of ways. We love you, Alberta, and we're thinking about you, Taber!