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Country Sweet begins year-round baby sweet potato program

Sweet potatoes have long been a strong seasonal item during the holidays, but Country Sweet Produce, based in Bakersfield, CA, is looking to capitalize on increased popularity with the introduction of a new baby sweet potato program, which will be available on a year-round basis.

Country Sweet has introduced a four- to six-ounce baby sweet potato in the Covington variety that will be packed in 1.5-pound bags in a 20-pound box and marketed under Country Sweet's "Bako Sweet" label.Country-Sweet-baby-sweetsBags of 'Bako Sweet' baby sweet potatoes next to traditional-sized sweet potatoes on the store shelf. The smaller size creates a finger-food option with the nutrition-packed sweet potato.

"We are attempting to carry this specialty bag on a year-round basis," said Country Sweet President Michael Valpredo. "From that regard, it would be the first sweet potato item available all calendar year, and it would be a big initial jump for us on what we hope to achieve across the board with this commodity."

Even though Country Sweet's baby sweet potato will be available during the holiday season, Mr. Valpredo expects to see a steady pull throughout the year rather than a spike during the holidays. The smaller baby sweet potato will be better incorporated into the year-round menu than the tradition 12- to 18-ounce size, he said.

"It provides the customer more of a finger-food option similar to the baby carrot," Mr. Valpredo said. "At the grocery store, the consumer wants more healthy options that are easy to prepare, and this fits the bill. The marketing is similar to the white or Irish fingerling potatoes, but offers the unique orange color to liven up any meal."

Country Sweet hopes that the nutritional value of sweet potatoes along with the popularity of the item and the new "Bako Sweet" packaging will help expand the year-round consumption of sweet potatoes.