As 2016 slipped off the calendar and a blank slate stretched ahead, we thought it would be helpful to take a peek at the past year-in-the-life of Boyette Brothers Produce. Our family farm continued with some traditions and expanded in other areas.
Since our family has grown sweet potatoes for more than 30 years in Eastern North Carolina, we have a few annual practices that consistently improve the quality of our crops and growth. One of our farm’s routine customs is crop rotation. Rotating sweet potatoes with peanuts, corn, and other crops helps sustainably control weeds, which in turn reduces the need for pesticides, and also aids in controlling nematodes. (Nematodes are a type of roundworm that can damage sweet potatoes.)
In 2016 we expanded our acreage once again, both for conventionally-grown and organic sweet potatoes. Additional land acquisition is an annual goal we meet or exceed without fail. Each year we acquire new space to farm either through land leases or buying acreage outright. This helps us grow alongside our growing customers while at the same time highlighting the longevity of our family farm legacy: We’re here to stay. “We’re proud of our family farm legacy, plus our state’s reputation for being a leader in produce,” says Robert Boyette.
We were also grateful not to suffer any notable damage from Hurricane Matthew last fall, unlike other unfortunate North Carolina farms whose crops were devastated. A few months after the storm we headed up the coast to New York to exhibit for the first time ever at a produce show! Boyette Brothers Produce exhibited at the New York Produce Show along with 400 other exhibitors. We chose the New York Produce Show for several reasons: One, we have a growing customer base in the Northeast. Two, it is the only produce show in New York City. Three, more than 5,000 produce executives attend from around the world, which helps us expand our existing customer base in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. (Learn about our current sweet potato export areas.)
Another addition from 2016 is early development of a new packing line. We plan to start operating a new organic packing line by the spring of 2017.
Curious about how the sweet potatoes are growing, what’s new on the farm, and events we’re attending? Subscribe to our blog for monthly updates from our family’s North Carolina sweet potato farm.