Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

Sweet Potatoes are Gaining as Regular Potatoes are Losing Ground

U.S. sweet potato use per capita has increased significantly during the last decade and was estimated at nearly 7 pounds in 2012, up almost 50 percent over 2002 levels. People recognize the health benefits of fiber and many nutrients contained in sweet potatoes and, of course, sweet potato fries have become extremely popular.

According to the Univ. of Kentucky, “sweet potatoes gained some popularity as a ‘lower-carb potato’ in the early 2000’s, and high antioxidant levels in sweet potato skins and other health benefits contributed to consumption staying strong after the low-carb diet craze. Sweet potato consumption is highest among Americans over 60, and sweet potatoes may have special appeal to aging, health-conscious baby boomers.”


source: North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

U.S. Sweet Potato per capita consumption has been rising nicely:
4.2 pounds in 2000
5.2 pounds in 2009
6.3 pounds in 2010
7 pounds in 2012

As a comparison, American’s eat about 50 pounds per year of all types of potatoes, including processed and fresh baked.

Do you know where your sweet potatoes come from?

North Carolina has been the number one sweet producing state since 1971. According to NC Sweet Potatoes, “Its hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, averaging at nearly 50% of the U.S. supply. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 50,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2010, the same amount produced by California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined – also top producing states.”

Sweet potatoes were formerly thought of as a poor man’s food, but now are realized to be a nutrient lovers food. I like to put cubed sweet potatoes in Indian cooking dishes with other vegetables such as cauliflower over rice, or, in pasta.

One lady is even reported to have done a sweet potato diet. She claims to have lost 90 pounds while eating one sweet potato per day topped with cinnamon, along with other healthy foods.


References:

1. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CDBREC/introsheets/sweetintro.pdf

2. http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/foodservice/Sweet-potato-consumption-on-the-rise-228037231.html

3. http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sweet-potato-industry/

4. http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-humble-potato-falls-from-grace-1407867055

Hmong Farming Community Near Minneapolis, Minnesota


Photo by Kimberley Britt @ FlickrCC July 10, 2014.
“Smiling Eyes” – local farmer – in Minnesota

With a population of 66,000, Minneapolis has the largest Hmong urban population in the world. Farm programs for the Hmong in the Twin Cities area were begun in the 1980s.

These next photos are all taken at HAFA farm in Minnesota. HAFA stands for Hmong American Farmers Association. This group has benefitted the region with their unique and diverse specialty crops, as you will see in the photos.


Mao – onions – HAFA FARM


JUDY GAO – looking south – HAFA FARM


Veronica – wash stations – HAFA FARM


Mo, Sam, Mao, Vinai – red potatoes – HAFA FARM


Mao, Moua, Mao – peas – HAFA FARM


Tha corn seed – HAFA FARM


DOUA – TRACTOR leak – HAFA FARM

Finally, here is a video explaining the HAFA farm:

I’d venture to guess that this Hmong farm community around Minneapolis is aging as its younger generation chooses urban jobs over rural, as is the case everywhere else, too.

Photos are by Mike Hazard, Media for HAFA, FlickrCC.

Cherokee Tomato Photo


This photo shows the “black” Cherokee tomato,
an heirloom from the Cherokee tribe, 1800s. Delish!
Photo is by Suzie’s Farm @ FlickrCC

In my experience, from growing heirloom Russian black tomatoes, they taste wonderful but you must eat them quickly or they rot – or get eaten by critters. Other gardeners are welcome to weigh in. But, yes, they are delicious.