Health benefits are becoming a major selling point of North Carolina Sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are becoming very popular, said Rebecca Scott, grower accounting and marketing for Nashville, N.C.-based Nash Produce.
“Packed with fiber in addition to many essential vitamins and minerals, the sweet potato is a well-rounded product that doesn’t require a lot of extra effort,” she said.
“Consumers have been increasingly interested in incorporating the tasty tuber in their snacks and meals and we are excited to have the opportunity to supply it at their local restaurants and retailers.”
Last season Hurricane Florence came through the state during sweet potato season.
This season, the crop is doing extremely well in comparison, Scott said.
“We hope that production will continue to grow year after year,” she said.
“Consumers are continuing to show a peaked interest in North Carolina-grown sweet potatoes due to their unrivaled texture and flavor.”
On Sept. 30, 40-pound cartons of orange-type jumbo new-crop sweet potatoes from eastern North Carolina sold for $15-17, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The same product sold for $15-16 around the same time last year.
Nash Produce hopes to highlight the value of health and versatility of the sweet potato this year, Scott said.
“Consumers are continuously finding new and inventive ways to make this oddly shaped vegetable a part of a balanced diet,” she said.
“Studies are showing health benefits to consuming sweet potatoes due to their naturally high levels in beta-carotene, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.”
The 2019 crop was being harvested as of Sept. 20, Scott said.
Nash is continuing to fill orders and provide year-round service even with the shortage this past year, she added.
Foodservice demand is also continuing to increase, she said, with support from U.S. Foods and Sysco.