Since 2009, Kallstrom Sweet Corn has satisfied corn lovers near and far.
Although the Quincy area may not be known for its tourism draw, one attraction that stands out are the numerous Kallstrom Sweet Corn stands dotting the local towns throughout the summer and early fall months.
There are five in total; two in Moses Lake, and one each in Quincy, Ephrata and Wenatchee, Mark Kallstrom, owner of the farm. Other towns such as Cle Elum, Roslyn and the Tri Cities have requested stands be placed in their cities. The stands are very mobile as they are attached to trucks.
“We try to make it like a tourist attraction,” Kallstrom said.
Since 2009, the Kallstrom corn has satisfied the sweet tooth of corn lovers far and wide. In that first year, Kallstrom, along with the help of his wife Elaine, their four kids and other part time workers hand picked 30 acres of corn. The farm now employs about 15 part-time workers, many are college students, and most have been working with the Kallstroms for a few years.
The heart of the business are the line workers and the sellers at the stands, Kallstrom said. Some customers visit the stands just to chat with the sellers, which he attributed to their great customer service.
“Without them, we couldn’t make this go,” Kallstrom said. “We seem to attract great people.”
Other than the part-time employees, the farm is really a family operation. All four of the Kallstrom kids help in one or another whether it be sales and marketing, or running sorting and picking crews.
Although grown locally on a farm between Quincy and Ephrata, the sweet corn has made its way to areas such as Spokane, Wenatchee, Blewett Pass, Chelan, Manson, Issaquah, restaurants in the San Juan Islands, and as far east as Moscow, Idaho. Some customers even ship the corn to other states such as Wyoming and Alaska, Kallstrom added.
“I think it’s a comfort food,” Kallstrom said. “Coffee, McDonalds and corn are the comfort foods.”
Kallstrom corn’s popularity doesn’t just come from its quality, and the family only advertises on social media every once in a while. Most of Kallstrom’s advertising comes from word-of-mouth from their customers, he said.
This is especially true with “Love Thy Neighbor Days,” a promotion in which Kallstrom will match your purchase of corn up to a dozen ears if you promise to share it with a neighbor. This is the fifth year Kallstrom has done the promotion and they have seen great success.
“It’s gone over pretty well, actually fantastic,” Kallstrom said, especially for one man who shared corn with a neighbor and ended up marrying her.
Kallstrom’s sweet corn is harvested from July to early fall, and the busiest time of the summer is usually August. Kallstrom grows all non-GMO corn and 90 different varieties of it. Each plant averages one ear of corn, but sometimes can produce two, said Kallstrom, adding, “farming is not an exact science like making a candy bar.”
“We strive to get the best quality,” he said. “It doesn’t happen by itself. It’s a lot of work