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Optimist Club Sweet Corn Sale A Summer Tradition

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

Selling sweet corn has become a summer ritual for the Glenwood Optimist Club.

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For the past decade, the Optimists have sold Mills County-grown sweet corn as a major fund raiser for the civic club that supports a variety of youth-related programs and activities in the Glenwood area throughout the year.

The popular Honey and Cream bi-color and Summer Gold yellow sweet corn is grown by Glenwood Optimist Club member and Mills County Master Corn Grower David Sieck and his son Evan.  

Each morning during the approximately three-week sweet corn harvest season, a team of Glenwood Optimist Club members come to Sieck’s secluded field in western Mills County shortly after sunrise to pick anywhere from 60 to 80 dozen ears of fresh sweet corn to be sold later in the day. The corn is transported directly from the field to the Optimist Club sweet corn stand in the parking lot at Farm Bureau Financial Services located at 302 S. Locust St. By early-mid afternoon, the stand is usually sold out.

Many of the Optimists’ customers are “regulars” who have been purchasing the corn for years. Emerson resident Karen Herzberg and Glenwood resident Suzanne Tuma both said they like the taste of the corn and the fact that they’re supporting an organization that gives back to the community.

“We look forward to their stand every year,” Tuma said. “We’re supporting a good cause and the corn is always fresh and very delicious.”

Herzberg is one of many Optimist customers who will freeze some of their corn for consumption this fall or winter. It isn’t unusual for some Optimist corn customers to buy 10-15 dozen ears to freeze for the winter.

Glenwood Optimist President Larry Raabe said the club is appreciative of the community’s yearly support of the sweet corn sale and Sieck’s willingness to plant the crop in the spring.

“Sweet corn sales are one of our biggest fund raisers each year,” Raabe said. “Our club members put in a lot of hot, sweaty volunteer hours picking and selling corn each summer, but I would single out David and Evan Sieck who produce the crop for us to sell. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Because of the time commitment involved with the sale, the Optimist Club has occasionally partnered with local youth groups like the Glenwood Community High School Marching Band and Mills County 4-Hers that are looking to raise money for a project or special activity of their own. The youth organizations provide volunteers to sell corn at the stand in return for a share of that day’s profits.

The Optimist Club uses its sweet corn proceeds to support and help sponsor a variety of programs, including youth sports activities, scholarships, Glenwood Public Library, Relay For Life, Newspapers in Education, 4-H, the Reach/SADD chapter at Glenwood Community High School and the annual Glenwood Easter Egg Hunt. Three years ago, the club used revenue from its sweet corn sales to make a $4,000 donation to the Glenwood Park Board to fund the resurfacing of the outdoor basketball court at the city recreation complex.

This year’s Optimist sweet corn sale began Monday and is expected to last into early August.