Covington dominates North Carolina sweet potato production

10/12/2011 10:10:00 AM
Andy Nelson

North Carolina growers love covingtons because they yield so well, Ceccarelli said.

Some North Carolina growers have experimented in recent years with the evangeline variety, Ceccarelli said.

It’s a high-quality spud, he said, but it doesn’t store very well.

“Last year growers weren’t too successful storing them after Jan. 1.”

About 85% to 90% of sweet potatoes grown this year in North Carolina are covingtons, said Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the Smithfield-based North Carolina SweetPotato Commission.

Since gaining ascendancy in the state, the covington’s market share hasn’t budged much, Johnson-Langdon said.

“It’s been pretty consistent for the past three years,” she said.

Other varieties

Beauregard and white-flesh and purple-flesh varieties make up the balance of North Carolina’s sweet potato offerings, Johnson-Langdon said.

Covingtons will account for 90% to 95% of Chadbourn, N.C.-based Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co.’s 2011-12 production, said George Wooten, the company’s owner.

The balance of Wayne E. Bailey’s crop is made up of white, purple, Asian and other specialty varieties — and a nominal amount only of beauregards.

“The covington grows better in North Carolina soils,” Wooten said.


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