How corn king conquered State Fair

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It came in his early 20s during a visit to the Wisconsin State Fair, where his uncle ran a beer garden. Near his uncle's taps stood a roasted corn joint. Ribar tried an ear and "then the light bulb went off," as he put it. Fair corn he'd eaten before was tough and chewy, but not this stuff. The key to quality -- roasting.

Ribar set out to bring roasted corn to the Minnesota State Fair, honing his strategy during his MBA studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. At first, fair officials weren't sold. Sweet corn, so the reasoning went, was fraught with sanitation peril: Fairgoers would toss husks all about, leaving a big mess.

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Originally published: 08/31/2011, Star Tribune