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Sweet potato on the field
North Carolina sweet potatoes face challenges exporting to Europe.
North Carolina is welcoming a good sweet potato crop. Kristi Hocutt, a Seller at Triple J Produce:
 
"Everything is looking good. The crop is sizing up very nicely in the field. We’re seeing a lot of jumbos but overall it’s healthy looking and seems to be plentiful."
She notes that while acreage possibly be down this season in the state, the overall crop size this year is similar to last year.

The harvest, which started at the end of August, will be finished for Triple J at the end of this week though Hocutt says that some North Carolina growers will continue harvesting until the first of November. The transition from old to new crop also saw no gapping this season.

Kristi Hocutt:
 
"We still have a little bit of old crop. We’re packing new but we’re moving our older crop to processing."
Domestic vs. export demand

As for demand, domestic demand continues to be steady and looks similar to last year. However, export demand is a different story.

Kristi Hocutt:
 
"In Europe, there’s no demand due to the dollar and the Euro and the Spanish and French crops that are out. We’re waiting and seeing. The dollar is a big part of this."
In turn, the challenge is keeping the price of sweet potatoes up.

Kristi Hocutt:
 
"Especially with the cost of growing tripling this season. The pricing should be more but it’s not. I think the pricing will stay where it’s at. With no one sending loads upon loads to Europe, the product will stay here in the U.S. and it’s got to go somewhere."
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