Here’s a toast to Yamco, a Snow Hill business operated by area farmers that processes sweet potatoes to produce high-end vegetable purees and top-shelf alcohol called Covington Gourmet Vodka.
“Sweet potatoes are big in Eastern North Carolina, where the climate is ideal and the soil has good emissions and nutrients,” says Bill Heafy, Yamco general manager.
A few years ago, Yamco commissioned researchers at North Carolina State University to develop a process that keeps vitamins and nutrients in vegetables after they are turned into purees. Yamco then built a manufacturing facility to make healthy purees from sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach and broccoli – all vegetables grown by local farmers.
“As for our name, most people believe sweet potatoes and yams are the same, but yams are actually grown in the Caribbean,” Heafy says. “However, since they are similar in looks, we named our company after the yam because when it comes to marketing, yam is easier to remember and catchier to use.”