With Thanksgiving past us and Christmas on the horizon, sweet potatoes shipments are rounding out another strong year due to high demand and a record increase in acreage. Despite some adverse growing conditions more acreage helped offset the poor weather. North Carolina faced delayed plantings due to extreme heat and drought. By harvest time, the entire state was hit by an excess of moisture. Still, sweet potatoes haulers were transporting generally good quality product.
After setting a North Carolina record in 2014 at 72, 000 acres, the state’s growers beat their own mark this year, with 84, 000 acres of sweet potatoes planted for the 2015 season.
Some estimates for the past five years, have North Carolinian sweet potato sweet shipments tripling. Sweet potato growers have planted more and more acres each year as they try to keep pace with consumer demand, and have expanded other aspects of their operations such as storage capacity and new packing lines.
While sweet potato shipments originate from Mississippi, Louisiana, California and Arkansas, North Carolina easily is the largest shipper of the product.
Eastern North Carolina sweet potato shipments – grossing about $2000 to Atlanta, $3000 to Chicago.