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Nash Produce supports sweet potato farmers through innovation

By
Keith Loria

The goal of Nash Produce is simple: support the family farms in North Carolina that grow some of the best sweet potatoes, as well as the retailers who sell them.

That takes a lot of hard work and innovation, and recently the company, headquartered in Nashville, NC, is focusing a lot of its efforts in investing in operations and becoming more efficient in various areas.

nash“All of that is done with the goal of ending up with a better-quality sweet potato,” said David Bradley, supply chain specialist, for Nash Produce. “That takes constant innovation, trying to stay ahead of the ballgame and letting our retailers know that we’re here to provide value for them. That’s what we maintain our focus on–constant innovation and value for our retailers.”

At the same time, Nash is also taking steps to improve sustainability, including reducing the thickness of its plastic, and it seems sustainability goes hand-in-hand with becoming more efficient and creating a better product.

“Obviously, sustainability is becoming more prominent throughout the sweet potato industry, so one of the things we want to work with our suppliers is cutting the thickness of our plastic,” Bradley said.

Robin Narron, marketing director and sales support for Nash, added that the company has also started using electric forklifts and reusable plastic containers for many of its retailers in order to cut back on cardboard usage.

As far as the 2024 sweet potato crop is concerned, Narron and Bradley said the crop is in its early stages of transplanting and that there has been a slight increase in acreage. They added that the crop is looking good so far, and that’s good news for people who enjoy sweet potatoes grown in North Carolina, where the combination of the soil, climate and the hard work of local family farms all result in the highest quality of sweet potatoes.

“Sixty percent of the nation’s sweet potatoes are grown around North Carolina, so it has a very rich history,” Bradley said. “We have a lot of our sweet potatoes growing around the eastern part of the state, and we’re kind of in the middle of it, so we have access to a lot of growers and a lot of supply.”

Bradley adds that Nash is also seeking ways to create new value for its customers, and that includes helping to promote sweet potatoes as a year-round item.

“November and December are our heavy months and sales are always going to skyrocket then, but we also want to stay in front of the customers and push volume during the summertime through promotions and finding new ways to get consumers to continually buy sweet potatoes,” he said.

Indeed, there are many delicious and fun ways for consumers to feature sweet potatoes in their meals and barbecues during the summer.

“There are sweet potato smoothies and grilled sweet potatoes,” Narron said. “From sweet potato ice cream to sweet potato tacos, there are so many different ways you can incorporate sweet potatoes into daily meals.”

It’s clear that Nash has established a reputation by supporting its growers who offer people across the country with some of the best sweet potatoes in the world.

“Being able to provide a consistent high-quality product 365 days a year is something that our retailers and customers can count on,” Narron said.

Bradley said the company will continue doing just that as it seeks out creative ways to pick up new business and create more value for retailers.

“We have a good product, a great support staff that’s always trying to create value, stay in front of the customer and make sure that we uphold our end and fulfill our obligation,” he said. “That’s what has made us so successful.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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