The grower of the world’s largest corn cob is farmer Jesús Nazario Elías Moctezuma, who won the annual corn cob competition in Jala, Nayarit, in December.
The winning cob measured 39.5 centimeters long, beating out the next largest by only a half centimeter.
In addition to the contest, the event hosted a gastronomical exhibition in which the star of the show was the grain that has been a staple of the Mexican diet since long before the arrival of the Spanish.
The executive director of the Mexican Corn Tortilla Foundation, Rafael Mier, said the competition is an initiative for promoting production and distribution of the large species of corn, as lack of demand threatens its existence.
“This [species] produces an excellent corn that can be used to make atoles, tortillas, sopes, tlacoyos and even pozole, among other suggestions,” he said, adding that local authorities are working to recuperate the species.
“A number of organizations have united to achieve this, such as the National Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research Institute (INIFAP), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Mexican Corn Tortilla Foundation,” he said.
Mier has worked to save a number of endangered corn species, such as his 2016 campaign to save the Toluqeño palomero strain, which is used to make popcorn.
Studies by the Mexican Biodiversity Commission (Conabio) have shown that the maize species produced in Jala is characterized by its long lifecycle, height of the plant and above all the size of its cob, considered to be the biggest in the world.
The plants grow as tall as four to five meters and produce cobs longer than 30 centimeters on average, while some as long as 60 centimeters have been reported.
The species is grown elsewhere in Nayarit and in neighboring states like Jalisco and Sinaloa, but does not grow as large in those places as it does in Jala, which winner Elías Moctzezuma praised for the fertility of its soil.
Source: El Sol de México (sp)