Penticton's Crazy Corn Man known for colourful personality (and great corn)
It doesn’t take long to see how the Crazy Chilliwack Corn Man in Penticton earned his name.
“Treat her like a pretty lady,” he says about unshucked cobs.
“Rip off her nasty toe nail, put her in a nice light slip, crisp her door, a damp blanky like a dish towel – not sopping – just enough so the fridge can attack the towel, and the ladies stay fresh for a week.”
He was giving a demonstration about his favourite way to preserve corn.
It's part of his appeal – some of his vocabulary may seem brash but in person he doesn't come across abrasively.
But his customer service isn't the only reason why he unloads 3,000-or-so cobs of Chilliwack corn every time he goes to the Wendy's parking lot, on the corner of Main Street and Duncan Avenue.
“The quality is always consistent and I love his sense of humour so it’s always great to stop by and catch up with him every summer,” said Jim Burke, a local who’s been returning for the past five years. “He’s kind of a fixture at this corner.”
From his truck, pedestrians and people stuck in traffic can be heard cheering out of their windows things like “We love the Crazy Chilliwack Corn Man!”
“It’s sweet and you know it’s going to be good,” said Michelle Brown, who travels from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories every summer to visit Penticton. “I’ve been getting corn from him for as long as he’s been coming.”
Lineups are constant on a sunny day, but the cash-only Corn Man gets through them fast – some transactions are completed in less than five seconds. But he makes time to add in a dash of his cheeky charm when shoppers seem to be in the mood for it. It may seem lacklustre, but most of his comments to customers are about whether or not they brought a bag.
Farmers experienced a delayed start to this season but the Corn Man says customers can expect supplies to last later into September.
When asked for his real name, the Crazy Corn Man said it’s Gavriel Von Reding, minus the Von. And he said his name on Facebook is Pooman Skidmark.
He said he lives in Hedley, which seems more believable than either of the names he gave.
He began selling corn after an intense spiritual episode 10 years ago, when he connected with his current supplier at Joiner's Chilliwack Corn.
“(Farmer Doug Joiner) was the guy I was supposed to meet. Three generations of corn growing. The best of the best of the best growers down there.”
And the Corn Man’s craziness is reflected in the nearby parking arrangements, where drivers face a free-for-all in a half-paved, half-dirt lot with no useful lines.
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