Origin

Nowadays, sweet potatoes are cultivated in North and South America, Asia, Africa and New Zealand. World’s largest producer of sweet potatoes is China. Even if the USA has a smaller production output, it is still one of the most professional growers. Besides of California, the U.S. sweet potato states are mainly located on the South East Coast. Here they find the perfect conditions to grow. Sweet potatoes are cultivated in several states in the U.S. but the four main exporters for the European market are California, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.

 

Mississippi

Mississippi is located in the South of the USA and geographically counts to the cultural region of the Southern states. Besides cotton, corn and wheat, sweet potatoes are also cultivated on about 9,000 hectare in the North. The most fertile variety in Mississippi is Beauregard, a non-uniform elliptical root with rose-colored skin and a firm orange flesh. When cooked, its texture is sweet and creamy. Therefore, it is the perfect vegetable for puree or bakery goods.

California

The climatic conditions in the golden state on the West Coast are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes. In the San Joaquin Valley between Fresno and Bakersfield, twelve commercially cultivated types grow by excellent soil qualities. Largest quantities are exported of the variety Jewell. Its skin is thin and rosy, the flesh is characterized by a light orange color. The sweetness of this variety is rather discreet compared to other types. That makes it a perfect vegetable for roasting or mashing. When added raw to salads, this sweet potato is a colorful accent.

North Carolina

The state at the U.S. Southern East Coast cultivates sweet potatoes on more than 30,000 hectares. Covington is the variety with the highest export rate. It distinguishes itself through rose-colored skin and a bright orange flesh. The Covington is rather oval and uniform in shape. Its flavor is slightly nutty, the taste resembles that of pumpkin or carrot. This variety is an all-rounder which works great as puree, in soups as well as roasted or steamed.

Louisiana

Because of its geographical proximity to Mississippi, Louisiana is not very distinct from its agricultural conditions. Up to a few years ago, the Beauregard type was also dominant in this state. Today, farmers prefer a new variety named Orleans. Closely related to Beauregard, its flesh is lighter and its shape is more even. These features render them more appealing for consumers and facilitate the usage in the cuisine.