Retailers seeking North Carolina sweet potatoes should expect some supply gaps.
“The supply of sweet potatoes in North Carolina is not going to be enough to last until the new crop comes,” said Kendall Hill, co-owner of Tull Hill Farms, Kinston, N.C., chairman of the board for North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association, Raleigh, N.C., and president of North Carolina Agribusiness Council, Cary, N.C.
Hill said prices will continue to increase until the new crop is ready.
Laura Kornegay, marketing director at Nash Produce, Nashville, N.C., said inventory is short at her company, too. The company is working out of last year’s crop and, according to Kornegay, the quality is good but the inventory is coming up short because of weather issues last year during planting.
All of Nash Produce’s sweet potatoes are marketed out of controlled-atmosphere storage so they are able to transition straight out of the old crop into the new crop.
“Continued pressure on the sweet potato inventory means the price is going to be higher until we get the 2014 crop out of the ground,” Kornegay said. “Demand is consistent and prices will go up as the inventory is decreasing.”