Jose “Pepe” Calderon, international sales manager at Farm Pak, Spring Hope, N.C., watches the  the packing line, which in late August was finishing storage sweet potatoes. Growers are starting to harvest new crop sweet potatoes.
Jose “Pepe” Calderon, international sales manager at Farm Pak, Spring Hope, N.C., watches the the packing line, which in late August was finishing storage sweet potatoes. Growers are starting to harvest new crop sweet potatoes.

SPRING HOPE, N.C. — North Carolina sweet potato grower-shippers are getting an early start to harvesting.

Some growers are beginning light harvesting and growers expect harvesting to begin in earnest after Labor Day.

In late August, Daniel Bissett, president of Bissett Produce Co. Inc., said he was sampling crop quality heavily.

He says he expects to begin harvesting Sept. 4.

“The quality looks very good,” he said Aug. 28.

Grower shippers say faster transplanting should accelerate harvesting.

“It normally may take six weeks to set crop,” said Thomas Joyner, general manager of Nash Produce Co., Nashville, N.C. “ We set it in four weeks due to plant availability. The crop will set faster than it has in some years.”