Meet the Farmer: Altobelli Family Farm

Fresh corn is the ultimate summertime treat. Nothing quite captures the season like biting into a hot ear of just-cooked sweet corn, dressed with a little butter and a sprinkle of salt. And no one understands that better than John Altobelli, manager of Altobelli Family Farm, which supplies FreshDirect with their remarkably sweet and delicious ears of corn.

Altobelli Farm is located in the Hudson Valley in Kinderhook, NY, near the rolling slopes of the Berkshires. There, the fields are thick with corn stalks, as well as rows of pristine vegetables and flowers.

John’s family has been working the land since 1953, when his grandfather first purchased the 180 acres that are now home to bi-color corn, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and more. John joined the family business in the 1980s after relocating from New York City.

John Altobelli

Soon after John’s arrival, the Altobelli family started growing corn… and growing corn… and growing even more corn. These days, roughly 70% of the Altobellis’ land is devoted to the tall, gorgeous stalks.

The Altobelli family is also devoted to protecting their land by practicing zone tillage, or allowing alternating strips of land to rest and rejuvenate each year), and by using as few pesticides as possible.

As a member of the Cornell Committee, John is tuned in to the latest developments in best-practice agriculture and is always keen to maintain the quality of his land and improve the quality of his products. But ultimately, nothings beats a personal touch: John and his team hand-select each ear of corn that is sent to FreshDirect, giving us only the sweetest, biggest, and juiciest. John even delivers it to us himself! So it’s picked, packed, and at your door within 24 hours.

According to John, the best thing about being a farmer is “the enjoyment of growing something from a seed and providing food for people.”

5 Corny Tips and Fun Facts

  1. If the classic combo of salt and butter doesn’t float your boat, try corn with mayonnaise, hot sauce and finely grated Parmesan cheese or a lime zest-garlic compound butter. Even better, go au natural and eat it straight-up with nothing on at all—it really is that good!
  2. Becky Altobelli, John’s wife and business partner, likes to quick-blanch husked and cleaned ears of corn before tightly wrapping them in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and storing them in the freezer for the winter months. (FreshDirect also sells frozen Altobelli corn year-round).
  3. There are more than two hundred varieties of corn and all are good sources of vitamin C.
  4. Corn has been an important nutritional resource for thousands of years, and nourishes with its high protein and carbohydrate content.
  5. Each grain of corn produces one single silk strand. Every grain’s strand must receive some pollen from the tassel at the top of the plant if it is to develop into a juicy kernel.

Corn Recipes To Try

  • Mexican Corn on the Cob (Elote)
  • Simple Sautéed Summer Corn
  • Fresh Corn and Parmesan Salad
  • No Cook Corn and Shrimp Soup
  • Seasonal Peach, Corn, and Avocado Salad with Skirt Steak

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