Heritage Corn – Herrick Creek Distillery

Heritage Corn

One of the things we're most excited and proud of at Herrick Creek is the chance to grow, maintain, and share heritage corn varieties that aren't often seen in New Zealand. These varieties have seen massive growth overseas but have yet to be grown in any sort of quantity in New Zealand. 

For us, the chance to make New Zealand Whisky with these varieties is a true pleasure. 

Currently we have 3 corn varieties that are in some stage of production, along with others that we're learning about for future years. 

1. Blue Hopi Corn (2020-2021)

We planted only 1500 plants as that was all we could procure from various seed distributors. We grew this in the Waimakariri District and produced about 500 good cobs. The low yield was due to weeds and bugs. As a first attempt, we're happy with the results and the lessons learned. 

Blue Hopi Corn is a variety from the Hopi people in Arizona, USA. It's fairly drought-resistant and produces long and full cobs which are great for making flour. The colour is more of a deep blue, and nearly black. (110 days)

Kings Seeds & Setha's Seeds & Sentinels Group

blue corn

2. Bloody Butcher Red Corn (2021-2022)

Throughout the 20/21 season, we grew Bloody Butcher in a small quantity in another location to propogate a seed harvest. The result is about 5000 seeds for the 2021/2022 season. 

This is sweet and flour corn, that can grow over 3.5m tall. It's attributed to 1845 as a date of creation, from Virginia, USA. It starts as yellow at the sweet corn stage and then quickly turns a deep rich red colour. (120 days)

Members at Koanga Gardens & Sentinels Group

3. Hokianga Red/Yellow Corn (2022-2023)

For the 21/22 season we are growing seed for this variety to grow in bulk for 22/23. This is a true New Zealand corn variety.

The crop throws about 20% red cobs and 80% yellow cobs. It was bred in the North Island and is great as sweet corn or flour corn. 

Members at Koanga Gardens

Other varieties of interest:

- Glass Gem Corn - Small cobs, very diverse colours (90 days) Kings Seeds & Sentinels Group

- Billard Corn - Orange colour, medium/small cobs - NZ Variety Sentinels Group

- Black Navajo Corn - Black in colour - sweet or flour corn (75 days) Koanga Gardens & Setha's Seeds

- Painted Mountain Corn - Early American corn - huge variety in colours - easy to grow - long skinny cobs (90 days) Blockhill & TradeMe