Garber Farms, Iota, La., plans to introduce a tri-color overwrapped tray of sweet potatoes in early 2019. ( Courtesy Garber Farms )

Garber to offer tri-color tray

Garber Farms, Iota, La., plans to introduce a tri-color overwrapped tray of sweet potatoes in early 2019, said partner Matt Garber.

The specialty pack will contain orange, white and purple sweet potatoes and will be available “to whatever retailer grabs it first.”

Garber said he only has enough for one retail customer.

Specialty packs continue to expand at Garber Farms.

The company has the capability of producing just about any kind of tray a buyer would want, Garber said.

“I could pack 20 different trays easily,” he said, adding that the same holds true for bags.


Kornegay fills food safety post

Emily Adams

Kornegay Family Farms & Produce, Princeton, N.C., has hired Emily Adams, a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, as food safety officer, said Kim Kornegay-LeQuire, co-owner.

“(Food safety) is a primary concern of customers and our primary concern as well,” LeQuire said.

With the growing number of certifications available and with numerous document requests, it made sense to add a full-time position to oversee these processes, she said.

“We’ve been GlobalG.A.P. certified since 2010, but it seems that increasingly customers not only want GlobalG.A.P., but audits that are unique to their company,” LeQuire said.

Adams will be able to respond to those requests year-round and ensure that the company meets customer demands for audits and certifications, she said.


Nash looks at new items, packaging

Nash purple sweet potato bag
Courtesy Nash Produce LLC

Nash Produce LLC, Nashville, N.C., is looking to introduce some new convenience items for consumers in 2019 along with new packaging, said Tami Long, director of marketing and business development.

Meanwhile, the company will continue its emphasis on customer service.

“We’re always looking to improve relationships with our buyers and help them in any way,” she said.

In a world that is becoming more and more complicated, Long said, “We’re trying to make it a point that, if you work with us, you don’t have to worry about sweet potatoes. We will take care of everything.”


Southern Produce plans new tray pack

Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., plans to expand its product line by launching a new tray pack in the fall, said Brooke Crumpler, director of marketing.

“Our tray pack will include four U.S. No. 1 covington sweet potatoes per pack and feature compelling packaging designed to attract the growing millennial consumer market,” she said.

The company offers a variety of consumer packs, including individually shrink-wrapped microwaveable sweet potatoes, 1.5-pound steamable bags and 3-, 5- and 10-pound bags.

“We also provide 5- and 10-pound boxes of loose product that are ideal for those who prefer to purchase larger quantities,” she said.

The firm also offers organic sweet potatoes.


Vick increases organic offerings

Vick Family Farms, Wilson, N.C., hopes to have new-season cured sweet potatoes by the end of September, said Charlotte Vick, partner.

“We will have the covington and beauregard varieties as well as a few specialty varieties such as the Murasaki, whites and the organic line we began a couple years ago,” she said.

Organics are growing in popularity, Vick said, so the company now offers organic sweet potatoes in a 3-pound bag, microwaveable package, 40-pound pack and bulk as well as export sizes.

She said North Carolina sweet potato yields might be down 10% or more this year.

“Acres planted in North Carolina are already short by nearly 9,000 acres from tentative reporting, and with yields decreased we could be looking at the smallest crop we have grown in several years,” she said.

Vick said she expects to see a shortage in the 2018 crop.

“Prices will have to reflect that or the shortage could carry on in the 2019 plantings as well, because I think you will continue to see less and less acres planted in the state if farmers cannot make a profit,” she said.


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