On Wednesday, I had a tour planned with the Johnston County Agri-Business Council. Normally with the way I felt I’d have just cancelled but I am the upcoming President of the Wake County Agri-Business Council and I needed to make some connections with our neighbors who have a much more active group than we do. I really had no idea what we were getting into as I’d only learned about the tour a few days before. I headed out early to go meet everyone and fortunately it was at Lazy O Farm in Smithfield.
I wasn’t really sure how I’d handle the tour because I couldn’t really stand for long but Lazy O has a really great facility and we were all comfortably seated in their barn. After about 45 minutes of conversation, everyone loaded up on vans for the first part of the tour which was to Farmville, NC to Covington Vodka and Yamco.
Yamco is owned by the three largest producers of sweet potatoes in the US. Turns out about 50% of all the sweet potatoes produced in the US come from NC! After learning all about not only sweet potatoes, aseptic bags and shelf life, pumpkins, squash, and all kinds of other low acid products that Yamco handles for major food producers, it was time to move onto the tour portion of the time.
Everyone was given a hair net, which I should have put on my face since I don’t have any hair to speak of on my head but oh well. We then proceeded into the food production side of the facility. Yamco uses a patented and unique process with commercial microwaves (100,000 watt vs the one your kitchen which is 800 watts) and they are able to produce a superior product that goes into mainly baby food but also a whole host of other foods that are on pretty much every aisle of the grocery store. It is a pretty major facility with far reach into our food system. But were were here for the vodka tour.