Sweet potato growers know about following trends, as their product has become trendy in the past five or so years. Now many are exploring another hot option to deliver in the produce department — organics.
“More organic production is one of the big trends in Mississippi this year,” said Steve Meyers, sweet potato extension specialist with Mississippi State University, Starkville, and nonvoting board member of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council, Vardaman. “Last year, we only had about 500 organic acres statewide, but we’re hovering around 1,000 acres this year.”
Kelley Precythe, vice president of Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., said the company launched its organic sweet potato program last year and plans to increase availability this season because demand was good.
Charlotte Vick, a partner in Vick Family Farms, Wilson, N.C., said the company will offer its organic sweet potato line for the first time this year in 40-pound cartons and 3-pound and 5-pound bag options. There may be an additional size offered later in the season as well.
“The brand name will be released in early October,” she said. “We are excited about being able to offer this to all of our customers this coming season. The organic line is really becoming a hot trend. We hesitated about beginning a new line that may be temporary, but it seems to be continuing to grow.”
George Wooten, president of Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., said the company also is offering organic sweet potatoes for the first time this season, with 175 acres planted.
“The organic label will be available to retail and foodservice customers in the bulk and bag options,” he said.