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Triple J Produce counting on good pricing for sweet potatoes in 2019

A family-owned business that dates back three generations, Triple J Produce Inc. deals in a diverse number of crops and takes great pride in producing quality fresh produce.

The company grows 1,400 acres of conventional sweet potatoes and another 250 acres of organic, though the latter number has seen an increase recently. Overall, it farms more than 5,000 acres, with more than 20 percent certified organic.

“We feel at Triple J that being a family oriented business that we treat every customer the same and provide them with the quality and customer service they each deserve,” said Kristi Hocutt, sales manager for the Sims, NC-based company. “Whether they buy one pallet a week or multiple truck loads a week, they are all important and we treat them that way. The customer service and quality we provide is what we believe contributes to our success.”

Unknown11Joey Hocutt, president of Triple J.In 2019, Triple J Produce projects a great crop and sees the great pricing from last year continuing.

“With sweet potatoes, you run your seasons year-round with new crop coming available in August typically,” Hocutt said. “In 2018, crop sales were down due to the availably of sweet potatoes, but prices have been the best they have been in more than three years. I hope for the 2019 crop we can maintain these prices to allow the growers and packing facilities to continue to make money.”

As a smaller packinghouse, the company does have to pay attention to what the bigger packinghouses are doing, as they will dictate the pricing, and Triple J Produce is forced to follow suit with some of its customers to keep them.

Another challenge is keeping enough product to satisfy its customers until the new crop arrives.

“We had to discontinue our exporting programs to ensure we have what we need for our domestic customers, as they are priority,” Hocutt said. “Most of our customers are from the Midwest and back along the East Coast. Being in North Carolina helps with the trucking to get the produce to the customers in a timely manner.”

Operating in North Carolina, Triple J Produce has seen the industry thrive and enjoys being part of the great farming culture.

“The dedication that the farmers sacrifice daily to provide great produce to stand behind is second to none,” Hocutt said. “North Carolina is very fortunate to have these farmers to provide the consumers great produce, not only for those in the state, but for wherever their produce ends up.”

Plus, North Carolina’s weather helps the company stay successful thanks to the rich soils it’s able to grow in.

“We have a great support system with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture that has resources to help when needed if they can,” Hocutt said. “As well as the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.”

Behind the scenes, the company’s newest employee is Annette Eatmon, who came to its rescue as its new office manager last year, and the company relies on the great employees it has.

“We value all of our employees and they are key to our operation,” Hocutt said.