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.
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.