This Stunning, Glass Gem Corn Is All Natural, And Bred From Heritage Seeds

In an age when we've been inundated with pictures of food manipulated to look polychromatic, sometimes we need to be reminded that hard work and nature can combine to produce the most naturally stunning (and, yes, instagram-worthy) fare of all.

Behold: Glass Gem Corn.

The Glass Gem Corn pictured above is completely natural — it truly is a unique strain of translucent, brilliantly-hued corn, grown by using some of Oklahoma's oldest strains, reports Mental Floss.

The story behind the jewel-toned kernels begins with an Oklahoma-based farmer named Carl Barnes. Barnes, who was half-Cherokee Native American, isolated heirloom corn seeds that had once been synonymous with Native American tribes. The tribes lost the seeds during their relocation in the 1800s, but Barnes relocated them, and subsequently harvested the seeds' corn as a way of reconnecting with his heritage.

His efforts resulted in these all natural, vivid ears called Glass Gem Corn:

Although Barnes — who passed away on April 16, 2016 — was the first to grow the rainbow corn in modern times, he is credited with enabling many Native tribes to recover and reunite with their sacred seeds. In fact, in 1994 Barnes gave fellow farmer Greg Schoen some of his seeds at a native-plant gathering in Oklahoma. Schoen went on to plant the rainbow corn next to traditional yellow varieties, thus creating even more new and shimmering hybrids.

Continuing on in Barnes’s generous footsteps, Schoen has passed the seeds along to other farmers, like Bill McDorman, reports My Modern Net. McDorman used to own an Arizona company called Seed Trust, but he is now the Executive Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH. The non-profit conservation organization now sells the seeds online here.  One packet costs $4.95, and all profits go toward helping conserve our nation's native crops.

Check out some more pictures of these dazzling, all-natural, gem-colored crops:

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