Burch Farms addition expands storage

Faison, N.C.-based Burch Farms Inc. added a building to its facility, co-owner Jimmy Burch Sr. said.

Burch Farms now has an additional 150,000 bushels of storage space for the company. The construction was completed in late winter in order to be ready for this season, Burch said.

The company is in the process of other upgrades.

“We’re upgrading the packing line with another sorter to give us better packing efficiencies,” Burch said.

The update is set to be completed in September.

The company is also producing sweet potato vodka, using off-grade and undersized portion of the harvest.

Beginning in February, Burch Farms began selling the product locally, but they are getting ready to expand the program.

“It’s going really well,” he said.


Delta Blues certified by women’s council

Delta Blues, a standalone packer and sales office owned by Kim Matthews, co-owner of Wynne, Ark.-based Matthews Ridgeview Farms, received its certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in April.


Garber Farms expands refrigerated space

Iota, La.-based Garber Farms added 100,000 bushels of refrigerated storage.

The addition was completed in mid-summer and will be used for the upcoming harvest, partner Matt Garber said.


Mississippi council preps for trade shows

The Mississippi Sweet Potato Council, Vardaman, is focusing on trade shows for this year.

“That’s one of our main thrusts for this year,” said Benny Graves, executive secretary.

The council is also working on some press items, as well as some recipe cards for point of sale, though Graves says they don’t have a large budget for things like that.


Southern Produce hires food safety staff

Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., added 340,000 bushels of temperature and humidity-controlled storage at the end of last year.

Howard Fisackerly, general manager, said the additional space for climate-controlled storage is in line with the company’s commitment to increase food safety and quality.

The company also hired Dennis Harrell to help with quality control and food safety.

Harrell began working for the company about six months ago, Fisackerly said.

“We’re just working to continuously improve,” he said.


Tull Hill Farms builds bin storage space

Kendall Hill, co-owner of Tull Hill Farms, Kinston, N.C., says the company is constantly trying to provide a better product.

In April, the company completed a new storage facility for its bin boxes.

The building is 190 feet by 80 feet, Hill said.

The company plans to use the shed to store bin boxes.


Southern sweet potatoes business updatesWada Farms opens office in Raleigh, N.C.

Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, opened an office in Raleigh, N.C., in April.

“We wanted some boots on the ground in North Carolina,” said Normal Brown, who joined the company as director of sales in the Raleigh office.

Jeff Scramlin was hired as director of business development and sweet potatoes.

“We both came from different areas but have 50 years of sweet potato experience together,” Brown said.

The company added a label shortly after the Raleigh office opened for its growers to use.

“In addition to the Wada (#1’s) and Sharp (Jumbo) labels, we also offer Dole-labeled sweet potatoes in 40-pound and consumer packs,” Scramlin said in an e-mail.