Farm Pak Products Inc., the marketing arm of Barnes Farming Corp., is celebrating 50 years of successfully meeting and exceeding customer expectations in an increasingly competitive and challenging sweet potato industry.
Carson Barnes established the company in 1969 to sell sweet potatoes grown and packed by Barnes Farming Corp. in Spring Hope, NC. During the 1970s, the company pioneered marketing fresh sweet potatoes along the East Coast and became a leader in distribution in the northeastern region of the country.
Johnny Barnes became president in 2012 and has grown the organization to incorporate fresh watermelons and value-added sweet potato products, such as microwave wrapped sweet potatoes and prepackaged mesh bags. The company has also added a full line of organic sweet potatoes and new varieties, including Murasaki and Evangeline, to meet the changing tastes of consumers.
“As the company kept growing in size and became more and more successful, our packing facility demands increased until we couldn’t accommodate our orders,” said Sales Manager Jose Calderon. “We now have four packinglines to be able to meet our customers' orders with the right specifications at the right time. We also have added plenty of temperature-controlled space to house all of our palletized sweet potatoes prior to shipment so our customers receive top-quality produce.”
Today, Farm Pak remains a family-owned business with Josh Barnes bringing on the third generation to the farm as the storage and greenhouse manager. The company continues to specialize in the marketing of fresh market sweet potatoes grown in eastern North Carolina to markets all over the world — the strongest being the United Kingdom and European Union.
Looking back on the past 50 years of owning the company, Johnny Barnes said, “This was a farm started on three-eighths of an acre and now we are selling sweet potatoes all over the world from right here in our hometown.” FarmPak has plans for the near future, including a redesigned website and brand new logo.