Free Corn Roast Coming to Jamaica This Weekend
QUEENS — "The Corn King" is coming to Jamaica.
Locals shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables at the Jamaica Farmers Market this Saturday will have a chance to watch Pono Wong, the self proclaimed “Corn King,” doing what he does best.
Wong, 59, is coming to the neighborhood from Pleasantville, NY. He adopted the royal title nearly two decades ago after becoming the official corn griller for Down to Earth Markets, which manages approximately 20 farmers markets in New York City and beyond.
On Saturday, Wong will roast about 300 to 400 corn cobs, donated by farmers who sell their produce at the market.
Wong uses a self-designed roasting barrel consisting of an empty oil drum. Wong attached legs to it and installed two racks inside — one to hold charcoal and the other for cobs.
"The Corn King," who is an electrician by trade, has been roasting corn during various local events for years.
He was approached by Down to Earth Markets when the group opened an event in his town nearly two decades ago, he said.
Miriam Haas of Down to Earth Markets said that Wong is able to roast about 15 to 16 cobs at the same time.
Wong said his technique is very simple — he removes the husk and corn silk, but leaves the stem so that people can hold it while eating. He then roasts the corn on a very hot grill for five to ten minutes, turning the cobs until they brown on all sides.
“After I cook it, it’s up to you how you want it,” he said, adding that butter, salt and pepper will be provided. “As long as the corn is good, it’s always delicious.”
The corn will be served for free along with a glass of lemonade, the organizers said.
The event, which has been held in Jamaica for about seven years, has been very popular, Haas said.
“It’s always been something that people look forward to,” she said. “It’s sort of an old-fashioned thing that people used to do and not many people do anymore. So we bring it to the farmers market once a year.”
The Annual Corn Roast at the Jamaica Farmers Market will take place on August 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is located at 90-40 160th St., between Jamaica and 90th aves.