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Colorful Harvest's new crop of Ruby Jewel sweet red corn is now being harvested near Merced, CA, in the Central Valley, and barbecue enthusiasts are flocking to local stores to get their share.

Once a secret of chefs who use the raw or roasted kernels to add color and crunch to their recipes, backyard barbecue chefs have taken to grilling the unusual corn to bring out the naturally sweet flavors.

Ruby Jewel sweet red corn is a special variety developed through traditional plant breeding methods and grown only by Colorful Harvest.

"The corn was bred to produce a deep red color and high sugar content," Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner of Salinas, CA- based Colorful Harvest, said in an Aug. 10 press release.

The corn’s natural red pigment is actually a powerful anti-oxidant called anthocyanin that is present in Ruby Jewel sweet red corn at levels 350 percent higher than ordinary yellow corn.

Sports fans and tailgaters were alerted to the availability of the special grilling corn by a series of announcements that aired on KNBR sports radio, the exclusive broadcaster of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Ruby Jewel is now available at Safeway, Lucky’s, Raley’s, Nob Hill, Bel Air and Save Mart.

The radio spots were done in conjunction with The Buckhorn Grill, a fast- growing Bay area restaurant chain known for its marinated tri-tip. Tom McLaughlin, regional manager for the Buckhorn Grill, grilled a sample of the special corn and immediately added it to the restaurant’s popular selection of roasted vegetables.

In addition to Ruby Jewel sweet red corn, Colorful Harvest grows purple- orange and green cauliflower, “Rainbow Crunch” carrots, purple broccoli, sweet red strawberries and melons.