Country Sweet Produce's Bob Haarhues Details Tight Sweet Potato Market
- by Anne Allen
BAKERSFIELD, CA - The sweet potato is the mightiest of all holiday spuds—apologies for my overt bias. But, I understand why consumers go crazy for these orange tubers and why retailers are going to want to stock up before the big holiday push. In order to navigate these busy times, I turned to Bob Haarhues, Country Sweet’s Director of Sales and Marketing, to learn about the state of the sweet potato market—and what it means for the holiday season.
“The sweet potato demand is strong as we head into Thanksgiving, and the market is tightening up fast,” Bob explained to me. “Coming off of last year’s smaller national crop, we all had to start early in July and August. Due to that, we’re all still closely watching operations to maintain year-round supplies.”
About 70 percent of the harvest, which includes Garnets and organic and conventional Covingtons, is currently complete, Bob remarked. The total harvest is estimated to be complete around November 19.
“Quality remains excellent out of Bakersfield—this area is perfect for growing sweet potatoes, with our warm and dry conditions through late October,” he said. “The team at Country Sweet Produce and Valpredo Farms work on this crop just about every day of the year—and we love what we do. This harvest has been our best yet, because every year we ramp up and do more to expand our capabilities in sweet potatoes.”
As Country Sweet continues to be a valuable partner to retailers, I asked Bob what he would like buyers to know most about the current state of the market.
“We would like buyers to consider new pack styles, as well as value-added options, to focus on premium packs, organic, and convenience options in the category. This adds value while also easing the burden on bulk potatoes,” Bob shared.
To keep up with how the market is shifting across a variety of categories, keep reading AndNowUKnow.