Rainbow colored corn makes a comeback in Mexico

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IXTENCO, TLAXCALA.— On the slopes of the Malinche volcano, Juan Vargas starts the dawn routine he’s had since childhood, carefully checking stalks of colorful native corn. For years, Vargas worried that these heirloom varieties — running from deep red to pale pink, from golden yellow to dark blue — passed down from his parents and grandparents would disappear. White corn long ago came to dominate the market and became the foundation of Mexicans’ diet.

But now, the heirloom corn Vargas grows is in vogue. It accounts for 20 of the 50 acres on his farm in Ixtenco, in the central state of Tlaxcala. Vargas, 53, remembers just one acre reserved for it in 2010 when demand was virtually zero and prices low. Fueled largely by foreign demand, the corn in its rainbow of colors has become more profitable for him than the white variety.

Vargas is among farmers in Mexico who’ve been holding on to heirloom strains for generations, against a flood of industrially produced white corn. They’re finding a niche but increasing market among consumers seeking organic produce from small-scale growers and chefs worldwide who want to elevate or simply provide an authentic take on tortillas, tostadas, and other corn-based pillars of Mexican food.

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Source.- NWI.com

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