By Leigh Ann Rutledge
CARROLLTON – If you want to see and hear a tall tale, visit George Knapp.
Knapp, who resides on 99 acres on Gallo Rd., outside of Carrollton, won The FPS “Tallest Corn Contest” with stalks measuring over 13-feet tall. One of the stalks measured was 13-ft. 9-inches with the first ear starting eight-feet up the stalk.
Knapp always purchased hybrid corn until he saw an ad for open pollinated corn from Iowa. He planted the corn in the spring of 2016 for the deer and other wildlife to eat. Last fall he hand shelled 200 lbs. of the crop. This spring he replanted the seed with minimal fertilizer. He admits he was surprised with the height of this year’s crop.
Knapp and wife, Doris, have owned the property since 1978. However, both have deep roots in the area. Both grew up in Amsterdam and attended high school together where Forest Buchanan, renowned educator, naturalist and omithologist, was George’s favorite teacher.
George’s father owned and operated the White Bear from 1932-1952 and asked George if he wanted to take over the business when he graduated. Not wanting to, George went to Franciscan University where he majored in Chemistry and minored in Biology. George met Doris when he rode his Harley Davidson through Amsterdam and offered her a ride home. They married in 1957.
The couple lived in New Harrisburg for five years while they both worked in Canton. After he lost his job, they moved to Canfield.
When the Knapp’s purchased the Harrison Twp. property, there were no buildings on it. George purchased a sawmill and built the barn. He retired and in 1992, they built their home from wood on the farm.
George makes the hay on the farm and sells it. He brush hogs the cornfields for the deer and other wildlife to enjoy during the fall and winter months. He also plants a field of turnips to share with the deer.
George took FPS staff on a tour of the farm. From a high point, we viewed the beginnings of fall color across a wide array of trees, tasted a turnip from the field and heard a couple “tall tales” not involving corn.
Knapp enjoys working on the farm.
“I enjoy it because of nature,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
For having the tallest corn, George and Doris received a “corny” basket filled with Algonquin Mill Corn Meal, tins to bake muffins and loaves of bread, an ear of popcorn, a corn-on-the-cob butterer and silk remover, trays to hold an ear of corn and other trinkets.