Fall to Spring
Sweet Potatoes are the actual seeds for growing themselves. Small, root potatoes are stored in our warehouses from fall until the following spring to serve as a source of seed for plant production. The stored roots are pre-sprouted, a process by which sweet potato seed stock is conditioned to produce sprouts.
The ‘seed stock’ is usually bedded by early March. This process involves planting the actual seed potatoes in rows, covering them with dirt and then covering the rows in a perforated plastic wrap. Because sweet potatoes are a tropical plant, the plastic helps keep the warmth and moisture inside. By early May, the plastic has been removed and plants are ready for cutting. The plants, also known as slips, are removed by cutting above the soil line and ready for transplanting into the field.
Spring to Summer
Field planting typically begins in early May, or when all chance of frost has passed, and concludes by the end of June. Once the slips have been planted, they begin to cultivate stronger roots to absorb the nutrients and moisture for growth. They will continue to grow and produce until they are harvested in the fall.
Harvesting time is normally 105 to 120 days from transplanting. When the plants have reached the appropriate size and maturity, harvesting will begin. Sweet potato roots are turned up on top of the ground by a disc plow. They are then exposed on the ground and hand harvested by workers to avoid damage to the delicate skin of the potatoes. This process usually occurs from late August through November.
Summer to Fall
After harvest, the sweet potatoes are transferred to 40 bushel containers and our growers will either cure and deliver their sweet potatoes to Nash Produce or deliver to us for curing, storing, sorting and packaging. They are stored in our climate-controlled warehouses and in our over 2,000,000 bushels of storage. When it comes time for them to be shipped, we clean and sort the potatoes by weight, size, or count as specified by our customers.