Nalo Orange Corn, Part 2

Many folks (myself included) have really taken a liking to orange flint corn, with Cateto being both the flagship example and the ancestral source of other orange types (Cuban, European, Creole, and Nalo Orange itself). I grew Cateto for years, because I very much like the taste, color, and texture of its hominy. Apparently, grits and cornmeal made from Cateto are popular too. I’ve always had one major gripe with it, however: low yields. I use Cateto – both Brazilian and Sulino – for my breeding projects, and I will continue to do so in the future. For production, however, Nalo Orange is clearly superior and will be my new stalwart orange corn going forward.

I sowed ~1500 seeds of Nalo last June and wound up harvesting 400 or so ears from the earliest plants (one pile seen here). Maturity was somewhere between Bloody Butcher and White Hickory King, with a narrower blooming range between plants than I expected. There is still quite a bit of variability for kernel texture and intensity of orange owing to the two parental genepools, but overall I’m satisfied with the population as it is now. Same for disease resistance: not uniformly high but respectable.

One of the original Hawaiian breeders – Jay Bost – has been stewarding, improving, and producing Nalo Orange on the islands for years now. He says that the variety has proven itself in Hawaii at multiple locations under organic farming conditions. It also seems happy here with the chemical fertilizers that I use.

This is one of the corns for sale in 2021. Hopefully you’ll like it as much as I do. 🙂

***Note*** There was a little contamination from some nearby yellow dent and white flour corn due to me not planting the blocks far enough apart time-wise. A great thing about dark orange corn: mixing with anything else seems to dilute the color moderately to strongly, which makes identifying outcrosses relatively easy. My block of Nalo was 14 rows deep, and I didn’t harvest from the outermost 2 rows. I did my best to cull any yellow, cream, or white kernels while shelling the ears, and I eliminated 3/4 of them. Still, there will be some outcrossed kernels in the seed, and – as such – I don’t feel comfortable charging full price. About 10% of the ears showed minor to high levels of unwanted mixing, so I’ll knock off 10% from the originally planned price.

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