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If the team from Nash Produce in Nashville, NC, is starting to look familiar, there is good reason for that. Over the past year and a half the company has become a fixture at trade events and a laser focus on top-notch marketing is beginning to make the Nash name known beyond sweet potato circles.

Of course none of that would matter without a top-notch product to match and Nash has that covered as well, with a network of farmers spread across a 120 mile radius covering about 7,500 acres throughout eastern North Carolina. Harvesting from such a large geographical area helps to mitigate issues that are often times brought on by Mother Nature. If pests or disease pressures strike one area, Nash has ample supply from other production areas to draw from.

Nash-7The Nash Produce team of Nashville, NC, at PMA Fresh Summit in October. Here are Hunter Gibbs, Scott Fisher of Food Lion, Jim Young and Laura Kornegay. (Photo by Chip Carter)Year by year, worldwide demand for sweet potatoes has seen a steady and significant increase. Nash, already one of the larger sweet potato distributors in the United States, takes pride in always having a year-round supply of product, regardless of that ever-increasing demand.  

“As the demand continues to increase, a steady supplier is an invaluable resource and Nash Produce is always able to deliver,” said Director of Marketing Laura Kornegay. “With the ability to store over 2 million bushels of sweet potatoes in controlled atmosphere storage, we can store product for up to 18 months after harvest.”

Meanwhile, Nash has taken to the road to build its name, appearing at trade shows large and small across North America. Next up for the company: The Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure show in Orlando, FL, Feb. 28-March 2.

“We have really tried to expand and figure out what our customer base wants and needs,” Ms. Kornegay said. “Primarily trade shows are our main reason for traveling — figuring out the best way to get in front of our customers on that end has been key. We do about nine shows a year — maybe 10 — so that does take a good amount of time. But they’re all focused in different regions, from the Southeast Produce Council to the New England show to the Canadian produce show, and focus on different sectors of the industry so it helps us have a well-rounded way to see everyone we work with and have an opportunity to meet new people.

“We’ve really tried to focus on having our team go and meet with our current customers just to continue building those relationships — but it also takes a lot of people staying in the office to keep it running the way it needs to be,” Ms. Kornegay said. “But we want to take the time and effort to be in front of our customers so we’re not just a voice on the phone or just mystery people sending sweet potatoes their way. And we have found that that’s what keeps relationships mutual, to have the face-to-face meeting and know who you’re dealing with.”