Harvard’s Own

Field Friday June 10, 2016

Mirai®, pronounced ME-rye, was developed in Harvard, Illinois in the early 1990s. Mirai® is a hybrid that combines the three main sweet corn genotypes, SE (sugar enhanced), SU(sugary), and SH2(shrunken). Mirai® is not genetically modified and was bred naturally by cross pollinating the different sweet corn genes. Mirai® comes in three colors, yellow, white, and bicolor. We grow and sell yellow and bicolor Mirai® here in Harvard. The color of sweet corn kernels is important in regard to consumer preference, but it actually does not have anything to do with the flavor.

The seed was first introduced to Japan because they have small farms where much of the work is still done by hand. The Japanese named it "Mirai" which means both "the future is coming" and "taste". Mirai® was originally marketed as a fruit in Japan because it is so sweet. Today, Mirai® accounts for a fair percentage of the Japanese sweet corn market. Discerning growers in the US are now taking advantage of the Mirai® experience.

Mirai® here in Harvard, is still picked by hand today, because Mirai® is so tender that machinery would smash kernels and ears. Handpicking is much slower than if we were using machinery, but it ensures our goal of high quality produce.