Boxes dominate shipments of sweet potatoes - The Packer

Boxes dominate shipments of sweet potatoes

01/04/2013 12:37:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Precythe said some retailers carry bagged sweet potatoes throughout the year.

Brenda Oglesby, sales manager, said value-added offerings — including shrink-wrapped microwaveable sweet potatoes — see strong sales.

“The demand is good,” she said. “It’s something I wouldn’t have dreamed would have taken hold as strongly as it has.”

Vick Family Farms, Wilson, ships 40-pound cartons but is exploring adding bags.

Charlotte Vick-Ferrell, partner, said the company plans to install bagging machinery next spring to pack 3- and 5-pound mesh bags.

The grower-shipper has long marketed shrink-wrapped microwaveable sweet potatoes.

Vick-Ferrell called shrink-wrapped demand consistent.

“It’s not an excellent business, but it is steady,” she said. “We want to pick up sales on that more.”

Strong varieties help with retail presentation, said Jimmy Burch Jr., salesman for Burch Farms, Faison.

Burch said the covington variety possesses a blocky shape, tighter skins and higher sugar levels that help it store better than other varieties.

“Our customers seem to like it over the beauregard,” Burch said. “It looks better on the shelf. Instead of being long and crooked, it’s more like an Idaho baker in size with uniform shape and shelf appearance.”

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