“It’s too early to guess,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to cover it, but industrywide, I don’t know yet.”
What’s not in doubt, however, is the fact that more and more Americans are eating more and more sweet potatoes, Godwin said — at home, when they go out to eat, you name it.
“Demand is up across the board,” he said.
And Godwin doesn’t foresee 2011-12 being any different from last season.
“I think that increase in demand will continue,” he said. “I don’t foresee any downturn at all.”
Many North Carolina shippers ended their 2010-11 deals early, said Steven Ceccarelli, owner of Faison-based Farm Fresh Produce Inc.
As a result, prices may not take the usual dip that accompanies the beginning of the new-crop deal.
“Demand’s going to be good, and I don’t see big fluctuations in price,” Ceccarelli said.
“People ran out of last year’s crop earlier than anticipated, and it created good demand.”
Precythe also expects prices to stay in the $14-16 range until the holidays, when they could go up a dollar or two per box.
Prices will likely restabilize before inching up again around Easter, he said.