Erstwhile Farm sweet corn fit for king

December 6, 2017 GMT

COLUMBUS — Produce grown at Erstwhile Farm has fed many people.

The organic vegetables, pasture-raised pork, chicken and eggs that Lanette and Larry Stec have on their rural Columbus farm are sold year-round to hungry customers. Some of the products have been featured in stores and on menus in Omaha, Lincoln, Columbus and out of state.

Recently, even royalty got a taste of the sweet corn produced by the couple.

King Abdullah II of Jordan was served Erstwhile Farm sweet corn during a visit to the United States last month. The sampling was coordinated by the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s office when the congressman met with Jordanian Ambassador to the United States Dina Kawar, who traveled to Nebraska in November.

The king was in Washington, D.C., and expressed an interested in corn with a meal, so arrangements were made to have him try some Nebraska-grown corn while he was in the United States.

Erstwhile Farm was contacted because the operation is a member of the society and has a commercial kitchen used to prepare and store sweet corn throughout the year.

A couple hundred pounds of sweet corn are frozen each year to sell and for the family’s own consumption. Lanette Stec said six 1-pound bags of the product were purchased to serve with the king’s meal.

Having sweet corn produced on her land fed to a dignitary was special.

“It was a great honor. We are just a little farm here doing our own little thing,” Stec said.

She also appreciated the visit from Fortenberry, who toured the farm and spoke to the Stecs for about an hour days before his meeting with the king.

Stec said he showed particular interest in the farm’s mobile coop for chickens, the commercial kitchen and solar panels used to power a kitchen, garden irrigation system and well on their 200 acres of crop ground, which have been in Larry’s family for more than a century.

Stec said Fortenberry’s visit opened her eyes. She said she isn’t a political person, but thinks he wanted to visit a small farm like theirs because of the innovations they use.

They follow organic practices and produce pork, eggs and vegetables without chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.

“We try to honor the Earth and the animals and do things we feel is best,” she said.