Some may call this time of year the “dog days of summer,” but for one special little destination just south of Folsom, these “dog days” are bountiful ones. The destination is Sloughhouse, and the bounty is some of the best corn you will find, just in time for those Labor Day barbecues.
Long referred to by fans simply as “Sloughhouse Corn,” this unique local produce is actually the product of Davis Ranch, a place in the Sloughhouse that pretty much be considered the “hub” of the community, which consists of a verdant valley just southwest of Folsom along the Jackson Highway.
What started in 1972 as a mere produce table at the side of the road carries on today as one of the area’s most popular destinations when it comes to fresh fruits, vegetables and most notably, the corn that you cannot get anywhere else.
While the facility itself is much larger than its early beginnings, today, the farm continues to operate with very little else nearby, aside from the miles of open fields lined with corn stalks, a nearby restaurant and residential properties that are scattered up and down the region that spans towards Rancho Murieta and the southern likes of Rancho Cordova.
After the recent string of heat waves, the corn is piling up at Davis Ranch. The harvest traditionally starts in late June or early July and ramps up through the dog days of summer as that triple digit heat none of us enjoy helps to produce the golden sweet corn so many take a road trip to acquire this time of year. It makes for a quick little road trip just out of the city.
It’s also a great place to stop if you are driving out towards the Amador wine country for the day. Regardless of how you warrant the trip, it will be well worth it to pick up products like no other that you can’t get just anywhere.
“We don’t sell to the stores. Many stores may claim they have Sloughhouse corn, but they don’t,” Rick Grimshaw will tell you, who operates the ranch today with his partners. “We want people to come out here, have the farm experience and have the opportunity to enjoy all the fresh products we have. If you want Sloughouse corn, it’s simple – you have to come to Sloughhouse.”Davis Ranch was founded by farmer Ed Davis, the father of Don and Jim Davis, who later went on to operate the ranch with Grimshaw, a neighbor who grew up just down the street from the ranch and was born into the life of farming. When he was a child, Grimshaw’s father Roland farmed corn down the street, while the Davis family specialized in tomato farming back in those days. After going to work for Davis when he was just 12 years old, Grimshaw eventually saw his father’s brainchild make it’s beginning into one of the region’s most popular corn farms today. “Harvesting tomatoes wasn’t easy and it was tough to make money,” he explained. “After my dad passed away, Ed asked me what I thought about growing corn on his ranch. I was just a kid and I was all for it. I already worked for him. The fields in this area were well shaped for growing and harvesting corn and that’s how it all began. The rest is history and here we are today.” Davis was known to be a smart businessman, growing his business one step at time and being diligent in the way of expanding year after year, never taking on more than he could handle and oftentimes making do of the resources he had. Those business habits have carried on through the years, helping the farm continue to succeed. “He never spent more than he was going make, that’s how he did business,” Grimshaw said. “For many years, they hauled and harvested the corn using old walnut trailers out here. It wasn’t easy, but it worked at the time. We made it work.” Not much has changed since those early days at that roadside table at Davis Ranch, other than its size, popularity and production. One tradition that also carries on, is the low prices it continues to offer, another perk that wouldn’t be available if this famed produce were to be trucked out to retailers, where it would lose that sweet quality, according to Grimshaw. As the popularity grew through the years, the size of Davis Ranch grew as well as the work force. A larger barn was built back off the roadside, and eventually a conveyor system was integrated into the facility to assist with harvesting and prepping product for the public more efficiently, none of the additions were considered fancy, just effective and efficient and all of them can be seen in operation today when paying a visit, which can make a great family outing. Today, the ranch consists of about 500 acres of combined Davis Ranch land and local leased land and the farm employs just over three dozen workers each year, all of which help to plant, pick and harvest the corn that many people often wonder how it is grown to taste so special. “Many ask what our secret is and why our corn is so sweet. It’s pretty simple, it’s fresh. It’s not special dirt or techniques, it’s fresh,” Grimshaw has cited to countless folks who constantly ask that question. “When you buy corn here, it While many of today’s commercial farms utilize the latest technology and equipment to manage their crops, Davis Ranch uses the same techniques they began with more than 50 years ago. While he and the Davis brothers took over the business in 1992, the ranch continues operating the same way it began. Grimshaw best sums it up referring to their methods as “old school.” “We’re old school when it comes to planting and harvesting, and you know what, old school works just great,” he said. “We’ve only grown in size through the years other than that we haven’t changed the way we do business.” In addition to their varieties of yellow, white and small amount of cross pollination corn early in the season, Davis Ranch offers many other products that are grown on site. In the early months of the year, asparagus starts off their season that later includes strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelons, green beans, peppers, squash cucumbers and more. Most of which has been picked the day it is sold or extremely close. The ranch also sells various nuts and home baked pies on site and wild flower arrangements. As fall approaches, it’s a great place to get pumpkins all varieties and sizes. Davis Ranch is located at 13211 Jackson Road in Sloughhouse and is open daily from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, it’s a good idea to check their website to verify hours. The website is one of the few things they have added since 1972. Its also recommended to plan your visit early in the day. If they get busy, there is a good chance they will run out of harvested corn until the next morning. For more information on Davis Ranch and their current harvest, go to davisranchproduce.com or call 916-682-2658.