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North Carolina Sweet Corn

North Carolina Sweet CornSweet corn is produced for human consumption as either a fresh or processed product. The specific time when sweet corn originated cannot be pin-pointed; however, sweet corn was grown by the American Indian and first collected by European settlers in the 1770's. The first variety, Papoon, was acquired from the Iroquois Indians in 1779.
Sweet corn loses sweetness and freshness rapidly after harvest, and the rate of loss increases with increasing temperature. Corn harvested early in the morning will be 10 to 20°F cooler than that harvested later in the day. Because sweet corn has a high respiration rate, it produces heat which can cause ears in bulk trailer loads to heat up considerably during delays between picking and precooling. The longer the delay, the greater the heating, conversion of sugar to starch, and subsequent quality loss. Sweet corn must be moved quickly from the field to packing sheds, where it should be rapidly sorted, packed, and cooled.

North Carolina Sweet Corn Growers/Shipper List

Cooling/Storage Requirements of North Carolina Sweet Corn

Suitable Cooling Method(s)

Hydrocooling, Icing

Optimum Temp ºF


Freezing Temp ºF


Optimum Humidity %


Normal Storage Life

5-8 days


Nick Augostini, Marketing Specialist
North Carolina Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services
202 Cunningham Road
Kinston, NC 28501
(252) 527-7125