Dry Farming Research

Dry Farmed Culinary Corn Project

Corn was not historically grown in the Pacific Northwest, which presents a challenge and opportunity for adapting corn varieties to thrive in the region, with its characteristic arid summers with long, hot days and cool nights. This project works with small, organic producers in the region to breed northern-adapted heirloom corn varieties for improved dry-farming performance as well as culinary qualities, particularly those most suitable for nixtamalization, the cooking process that transforms corn kernels to produce hominy and masa dough for tortillas and other important staples of Indigenous and Latinx cuisines. Using the rapid breeding process of recurrent selection, we are improving heirloom corn varieties for use in organic, dry farmed systems, while also maintaining them as genetically-diverse, open-pollinated and in the public domain. So far, we have made dry-farmed selections of Open Oak Party Mix dent corn, Oaxacan Green dent corn, and Dakota Black popcorn varieties. We are also engaged with growers and tortillerias to trial and breed additional varieties to increase local corn diversity in the Pacific Northwest.

Dry Farm Tomato Project

The Dry Farm Tomato Project is a three-year (May 2020 - April 2023) project funded by Western SARE. The project's overarching goal is to jump-start a dry farm tomato production system for the Willamette Valley of Oregon. For more information, contact Alex Stone: alex.stone@oregonstate.edu