Climate in South makes organic sweet potatoes rare - The Packer

Climate in South makes organic sweet potatoes rare

09/15/2009 01:02:35 PM
Lance Jungmeyer

With the blazing heat and sweltering humidity in the Southern states, it is nearly impossible to grow a commercial sweet potato crop without some level of chemical treatment.

Not that some grower-shippers wouldn't like to try it.

"We've experimented a little bit," said Wayne Garber, partner in Garber Farms Inc., Iota, La. "But it's very difficult and risky in our environment, because of all the pests and diseases we face here. There is too much pressure in the environment."

"If you're in a more arid environment like California, going organic is a lot easier," Garber added.

Edmonson Farms, Vardaman, Miss., has considered adding organic sweet potatoes, but Trey Boyette, sales manager and partner, said he doesn't see enough demand from customers yet.

"There are plus sides and negative sides. On the growing end, they're more prone to insect damage and disease," Boyette said. "It's still up in the air. We haven't shot it down, but we haven't accepted it yet."

To Garber, the semi-tropical environment in the South has its own benefits, even if it might make growing organic difficult.

"We can grow a sweet potato like it was meant to grow. The humidity makes them sweeter tasting, with a smoother texture," Garber said.

"That's not to say we won't find a way to grow organic, because we continue to look at that," he added.



Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight