Wooten said processing demand remains important because it allows grower-shippers that service the fresh market to continue growing a reliably profitable product.
The segment also helps growers maintain competitive prices for the industry’s retail and foodservice customers, he said.
Vick Family Farms in Wilson, N.C., sells a small amount of its sweet potatoes to processing customers.
“As they typically get our off-grades, it’s made it possible for very little waste,” said Charlotte Vick, partner. “When you package sweet potatoes now, you pretty much sell everything. That’s good for the industry because you don’t have a lot of waste.”
Vick Farms sells about 5% of its crop to processing customers, a little higher than in the past, Vick said.