A United States leader in the distribution of organic and conventional sweet potatoes.


Over 80% of Californias sweet potato production happens right here in Merced County.


Read about A.V. Thomas Produce and the amazing history that began a great adventure.

Innovation at Work

We pride ourselves on the top notch quality product we produce, as well as how best we can serve our customers. This upgrade is a big part of the future of A.V. Thomas Produce! The only automated sweet potato packing line on the west coast and the only one of its kind in the United States. Always growing, evolving and leading the industry. #avthomasproduce #sweetpotatoes


We at A.V. Thomas Produce are devoted to bringing our production to the future. Which means going green, sustainability throughout our facilities. We have taken the first and largest steps in this direction by adding solar power to help offset the power consumption. New times require new innovations and that's exactly what we are geared to do. #solarpower #goinggreen


In the spring of 1977 my uncle, Antonio Vieira Tomas, offered to sell me his company.

Looking at the original documents my wife and I signed when we purchased one 9,100-square-foot building (but not the land it sat on). Eighty acres of sweet potatoes already planted and awaiting harvest later that year, some cardboard boxes and a little bit of equipment all for less than 150k. The year before, my uncle documented that A.V. Thomas Produce sold almost 39,000 forty-pound cartons of sweet potatoes and yams – about 1.5 million pounds of produce.


Below are 4 different types of sweet potatoes that we grow and offer to our customers:

Red Sweet Potatoes


Extra-moist and flavorful, with orange flesh and a red-copper to plum skin color.  Red sweet potato varieties include the Diane, Vermillion, Burgundy and Garnet.

Commonly referred to as “Yams”, red sweet potatoes are the most popular sweet potato west of the Rockies.

Orange Sweet Potatoes


Bright orange flesh, copper-colored skin, moist and sweet to taste.  Orange sweet potatoes are excellent for baking, roasting or in casseroles.  Orange sweet potato varieties include the Covington, Belleview and Beauregard.  Due to their popularity with growers on the East Coast—orange sweet potatoes are the most popular variety grown in the USA.  West coast production is predominantly supported by the superior flavor and quality of product that is produced in California’s perfect growing conditions.

White Sweet Potatoes


Yellow to cream-colored flesh and skin color.  Slightly drier than the orange fleshed varieties, these semi-moist sweet potatoes have a mild, nutty taste.  White sweet potato varieties include Bonita, O’Henry, DS White, Hannah and Jersey.  They make excellent alternatives to standard Irish potatoes and are perfect in casseroles and side dishes, or simply baked and can elevate recipes beyond a traditional potato.  

Japanese Sweet Potatoes


Dark red, almost purple skin with a creamy white flesh.  The drier flesh of Japanese sweet potatoes allows for extreme versatility in the kitchen.  These potatoes can be shredded, cubed, riced, or cut anyway one could imagine and then cooked without losing it’s shape which is great for soups, hashbrowns, fries, the sky’s the limit!  Japanese sweet potato varieties include Murasaki and Kotobuki.  Often referred to as Batatas, Bonatios, Oriental Sweetpotato or Korean Yam, these sweet potatoes are useful in any cuisine and can elevate even the simplest of dishes like a baked potato or potato salad.

Below are 3 different specialty types of sweet potatoes that we grow and offer to our customers

Stokes™ Purple
Sweet Potatoes


Dark purple skin and vibrant purple flesh, this unique proprietary variety is grown exclusively in California by A.V. Thomas Produce.  It is most similar to the Japanese sweet potato characteristics in that it has a nutty and sweet flavor and dryer than orange flesh types of sweet potatoes.  It can be used as an exotic alternative in recipes that call for regular potatoes. 

Sweet Potatoes


Pale white skin color with a lavender flesh that intensifies in color after cooking.  Commonly referred to as Hawaiian Sweet Potato and is most popular in Polynesian and Japanese dishes.  Prized for their high antioxidant levels, anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the lavender color of the flesh.  Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potatoes are a popular easy side dish which originated from the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

Ben Yagi™ Purple
Sweet Potatoes


Lighter in color than Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes, this delicate variety is available seasonally.  Ben Yagi Sweet Potatoes have a tender semi-moist flesh and its vibrant hued coloring are another unique addition to the plate.  Peak availability are during the fall and winter months, and will begin to taper off during the spring.  Be sure to try these gems while their available!

What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

Depending on who you ask…

Although orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have traditionally been referred to as “yams” in parts of the United States and Canada, they are not part of the same family as True Yams and therefore that are not actually “yams”.  True Yams are cultivated in Africa, Asia, Latin America, The Caribbean and Oceania and not traditionally in the United States or Canada.


In the United States, it’s easier.

Today it is still accepted that the word “Yam” can be used to describe the moist orange fleshed varieties of sweet potatoes, though we advise using the proper term “Sweet Potato” or “Sweetpotato”.



Fresh Sweet Potatoes have been certified by the America Heart Association (AHA) to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The American Cancer Society, American Dietetic Association and AHA support eating sweet potatoes which are nutritious and can be helpful in the prevention of disease.