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Sweet potato growers join forces for new venture

Posted on September 13, 2021

Local news
Freshly washed sweet potatoes roll onto a sorting line at Boyette Brothers Produce in Wilson County.

Drew C. Wilson | Restoration NewsMedia

Freshly washed sweet potatoes roll onto a sorting line at Boyette Brothers Produce in Wilson County.

Regan Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce, holds an individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potato ready to be shipped.

Drew C. Wilson | Restoration NewsMedia

Regan Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce, holds an individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potato ready to be shipped.

Freshly washed sweet potatoes roll onto a sorting line at Boyette Brothers Produce in Wilson County.

Drew C. Wilson | Restoration NewsMedia

Freshly washed sweet potatoes roll onto a sorting line at Boyette Brothers Produce in Wilson County.

Regan Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce, holds an individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potato ready to be shipped.

Drew C. Wilson | Restoration NewsMedia

Regan Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce, holds an individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potato ready to be shipped.

Regan Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce, holds an individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potato ready to be shipped.
Freshly washed sweet potatoes roll onto a sorting line at Boyette Brothers Produce in Wilson County.

dwilson@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7818

Battleboro Produce, Boyette Brothers Produce, Bland Farms and Sandyland Produce have formed a new sales company called Sand Candy Produce LLC based in Rocky Mount’s Battleboro community.

Boyette Brothers will continue operating on its own and serving its existing customer base out of Wilson County’s Rock Ridge community.

Sand Candy Produce will have its main office in Battleboro and will handle sales for more than 10,000 acres of sweet potato production in North Carolina and Georgia. The new partnership forms one of the major marketers of sweet potatoes in the country.

“We are one of the three North Carolina-based growing partners that have been farming world-famous North Carolina sweet potatoes for over 50 years,” said Joel Boseman, owner and president of Battleboro Produce. “We have enjoyed a strong export business and are excited that now with Sand Candy, we can grow our domestic business along with our international business. Having both North Carolina and Georgia sweet potatoes this season will be a win for our customers.”

Each partner’s packing facilities can pack bins, boxes and bags with sizes ranging from 2-10 pounds.

In the last year, Boyette Brothers has started marketing individually wrapped, microwavable sweet potatoes.

“By joining in this new venture, this will also better enable us to serve more customers domestically as well as internationally, whereas before, we were limited on how much we could offer,” said Regan B. Dawson, operations manager at Boyette Brothers Produce.

Dawson said the new arrangement is not a merger, but the formation of an additional sales company.

Boyette Brothers Produce currently packs more than 1 million bushels of sweet potatoes a year, Dawson said. Its farm, Rock Ridge Farms Partnership, grows a large percentage of that supply. 

The remainder of Boyette Brothers’ inventory comes from other growers in the state, Dawson said.   

“Boyette Brothers Produce has developed strong business relationships overseas in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and are optimistic that Sand Candy Produce LLC will further help foster more domestic business as well,” Dawson said. “Boyette Brothers Produce LLC along with Bland Farms, Battleboro Produce and Sandyland Produce, Sand Candy LLC will have the unique ability to offer their customers secure, consistent and a constant year-round supply of sweet potatoes coming from growers with over 50 years in the industry.”

 Boyette Brothers Produce was formed in December 2012 by Wiley, Robert and Michael Boyette. The produce company was built out of the need for their farm, Rock Ridge Farms Partnership, to be able to market its own sweet potatoes. The company was capitalizing on the sweet potato crop’s heightened popularity.

Dawson, Robert Boyette’s daughter, is operations manager for the company, and her husband, Derek Dawson, serves as the company’s packing line manager.

“Being that this is personally my family’s livelihood, we are very eager and excited to see what the future holds for Boyette Brothers Produce LLC and Sand Candy Produce LLC,” Dawson said. 

Boyette Brothers Produce is located at 6638 Radio Tower Road west of Wilson and can be reached by calling 252-206-0737 or emailing reboyette@gmail.com.

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