Sweet Corn Festival: Cooking the Corn
How is the 80 (plus) tons of corn cooked for the annual Sweet Corn Festival??
It is a precise process with special equipment, used just for the Festival. A building was constructed in 1997 to house the equipment: five retorts and a boiler. Here is some information about this specialized equipment.
What is a retort??
Think of a rice steamer-similar in concept, however, very small scale compared to the retorts used for steaming the scrumptious sweet corn for the festival. Each retort is ten feet deep and three feet across. Four cast iron baskets fit in each retort for cooking and each basket holds 1/4 ton or more of corn - about 200-300 ears of corn. Each retort can cook one ton of corn every seventeen minutes and the temperature to cook the corn is 247 degrees.
The boiler - not your average boiler!
The dimensions of the boiler is 9'2" high by 9'4" wide by 20'10" long and it weighs 43,000 pounds! (Remember, we average 80 ton of corn per year at the Festival!)
It produces 17,250,000 pounds of steam per hour and holds 2,500 gallons of water. This boiler produces 16,736,000 BTU's - enough to heat 125 homes.
The corn cooking facility is the heart of the Sweet Corn Festival - we thank our dedicated volunteers who staff the cooking operations including:
Craig Running, Becker Boiler
Nick Conrad, Conrad Real Estate
John Muller, Muller Plumbing