From Seed to Snack: How Popcorn is Grown

How is Popcorn Grown

Feb 06, 2024Thad Paul

When you receive a bag of popcorn, the instructions are fairly simple. You place it in the microwave, set the timer for a few minutes, and wait until the kernels become fully popped and ready to go. But how does popcorn get to this state? What is the process from corn to packaged product? At America’s Favorite, we know our popcorn. Let us explain the method that transforms a plant to the tasty pastime treat we all know and love.

Popcorn Breeding

To produce the best corn for popping, farmers specifically breed popcorn for the most desirable traits, such as color, size, stalk strength, and ratio of successful pops. Orville Redenbacher was among one of the most successful in doing this, specifically pollinating corn by hand to generate the perfect popcorn. The kernels are bred differently for each purpose, movie theatre popcorn is chosen for its size and nutty taste, microwave popcorn for its speed, and caramel corn for its mushroom shape.


Ohio, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri are known as the major states for popcorn growth in the United States. Since the kernels are harvested by machinery, the cornrows are planted strategically in checkrows that intersect at 90-degree angles. Popcorn grows exceedingly fast, germinating in seven days or less, emerging from the soil in ten days. The popcorn plants will rise to become almost eight feet tall in height, producing ears of corn from its long green leaves. When the leaves begin to dry and turn brown, the corn will be harvested by a combine, which will crush the corn stalks, and remove the ear of corn, to begin husking.

Once the ears of corn are husked, leaving only the cob and seed rack, the ears will be left to dry. This process takes time, almost as much as 9-12 months. The purpose behind this long period of time is to guarantee that the moisture level of the kernels is low, and ready for popping. The kernels are then sorted, removing any extra particles, or kernels that are too small for manufacturing. After sorting, they are cleaned and polished, looking just right for commercial consumption.

We bet that you didn’t know the process behind our gourmet treat! Don’t stop here, enjoy a bag of America’s Favorite Gourmet Popcorn, now that you know the history behind its production! Whether you’re searching for savory Buffalo Cheddar, or sweet Capitol Caramel, we can guarantee that we have a flavor for you. Check out our wide selection of gourmet popcorn or read our other blog pages here! Celebrate this tasty treat the right way.

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