Schools give N.C. sweet potato sticks a try

by | Mar 10, 2009

Sweet potato sticks, a new item offered to schools through our Farm to School program, recently debuted in 27 school systems across the state. Wayne E. Bailey Produce in Chadbourn supplies the sweet potato sticks, which can be eaten raw with dip or prepared like French fries.

A photo from the Wayne E. Bailey Produce site shows sweet potato sticks that were part of school lunches.

A photo from the Wayne E. Bailey Produce site shows sweet potato sticks that are being served in school meals.

Our Food Distribution Division manages the Farm to School program, designed to generate sales of locally grown fruits and vegetables to North Carolina schools. This is the 12th year of the Farm to School Program, and it has been a success for schools, farmers and school children. Schools like knowing they are buying from local growers, students get the freshest fruits and vegetables available, and growers have a new market for their commodities. It’s a winning idea times three.

Food Distribution Director Gary Gay says school systems like value-added products that can be quickly prepared and will also capture the attention of young eaters. The sweet potato sticks seemed to fit the bill. A total of 650 cases of the sticks were ordered by school nutrition directors statewide, a respectable start for a new product. Feedback has been positive, Gay says.

March is recognized as National Nutrition Month and sweet potatoes go hand-in-hand with nutrition. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and E, and are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

Participating schools are: Alleghany County, Asheboro City, Avery County, Beaufort County, Brunswick County, Camp Lejeune, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Fort Bragg, Franklin County, Graham County, Guilford County, Harnett County, Hertford County, Jackson County, Johnston County, Lexington City, Nash-Rocky Mount, Perquimans County, Person County, Roanoke Rapids Graded, Rockingham County, Stokes County, Thomasville City, Tyrell County, Wilkes County and Yadkin County.