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Sweet potato yields up for Quail H Farms

The sweet potato harvest is already underway at Quail H Farms LLC, located in Livingston, CA. “Harvest conditions have been perfect. We are about 35 to 40 percent into it and anticipate finishing up somewhere around Halloween,” said Sales Manager Larelle Miller on Sept. 21. “Quality has been excellent and so has the size.”

QuailH-LARELLE-MILLERLarelle MillerMiller said the company cut back on planted acreage in some areas and “aggressively went after additional ground where water was available. We grow and pack conventional and organic orange, red, white and Japanese varieties. Our yields are actually up significantly in most of our conventional fields, and our organic yields are up slightly. Our farm manager, Adam Shaner, has really focused on his nitrogen management and irrigation practices. He has done a phenomenal job this year.”

Equipment upgrades have streamlined the production process. New energy-efficient dryers were recently installed on the packinglines, facilitating the drying process as the sweet potatoes come out of the wash tank. “We have also installed an automatic bagging machine, Giro Pak UB65 Girbagger,” Miller stated. “The same bagger is used by a lot of citrus houses here in California and a number of apple sheds up in the Northwest. The automation has saved us a great deal on labor, and the high-graphic film really makes the bags eye appealing. We currently utilize the American Heart Association Heart-Check Mark and the California Sweetpotato Seal on the bags to send the ‘Local’ and ‘Health’ messages, and we provide a variety of recipes to help educate the consumer on just how versatile California Sweetpotatoes can be. Studies have shown that consumers want to know where their produce comes from, they want to know what is good for them and they want ideas on how to prepare them. We offer all of these in one nice package. We can pack two-pound bags up to 10-pound bags on the same machine.”

Quail H Farms markets sweet potatoes under the “Quail H Farms,” “Quail H Farms Organic Select” and “Lil’s Best” labels to all market sectors, shipping primarily to customers located west of the Mississippi. “We do ship into the Midwest, East and Canada,” Miller added.

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