Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

I think this is a good "first post in a long time" to do! Wednesday was the day that I finally got to harvest my sweet potatoes, after 4 months of waiting. I planted two different kinds of potatoes in my box from slips, 3 Beauregards and 3 Georgia Jets. One of the two kinds overtook the others, but I'm not sure which one.

Here is a little bit of info on sweet potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are native to the tropical parts of South America, and were domesticated there at least 5000 years ago. Austin (1988) postulated that the centre of origin of I. batatas was between the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The 'cultigen' had most likely been spread by local people to the Caribbean and South America by 2500 BC. Zhang et al. (1998) provided strong supporting evidence that the geographical zone postulated by Austin is the primary centre of diversity. The much lower molecular diversity found in PeruEcuador suggests that this region be considered as secondary centre of sweet potato diversity. The sweet potato was also grown before western exploration in Polynesia, where it is known as the kumara, remarkably similar to the Quechua kumar in Peru and Nahuatl kumotl inMexico. Sweet potato has been radiocarbon-dated in the Cook Islands to 1000 AD, and current thinking is that it was brought to central Polynesia circa 700 AD, possibly by Polynesians who had traveled to South America and back, and spread across Polynesia to Hawaii and New Zealand from there. It is possible however, that South Americans brought it to the Pacific. The theory that the plant could spread by floating seeds across the ocean is not supported by evidence. Another point is that the sweet potato in Polynesia is the cultivated Ipomoea batatas, which is generally spread by vine cuttings, and not by seeds. Sweet potatoes are now cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, world production in 2004 was 127,000,000 tonnes. The majority comes from China, with a production of 105,000,000 tonnes from 49,000 km2. About half of the Chinese crop is used for livestock feed. Per-capita production is greatest in countries where sweet potatoes are a staple of human consumption, led by Papua New Guinea at 550 kg per person per year, the Solomon Islands at 160 kg, Burundi and Rwanda at 130 kg and Uganda at 100 kg. About 20,000 tonnes of sweet potatoes are produced annually in New Zealand, where sweet potato is known by its Māori name, kūmara. It was a staple food for Māori before European contact. In the U.S., North Carolina, the leading state in sweet potato production, provided 38.5% of the 2007 U.S. production of sweet potatoes. California, Louisiana, and Mississippi compete closely with each other in production. Louisiana has been a long-time major producer, once second only to North Carolina, and closely followed by California, until the latter began surpassing it in 2002. In 2007, California produced 23%, Louisiana 15.9%, and Mississippi 19% of the U.S. total.The town of Opelousas, Louisiana's "Yambilee" has been celebrated every October since 1946. The Frenchmen who established the first settlement at Opelousas in 1760 discovered the native Attakapas, Alabama, Choctaw, and Opelousas tribes eating sweet potatoes. The sweet potato became a favourite food item of the French and Spanish settlers, and thus continued a long history of cultivation in Louisiana. Mississippi has about 150 farmers presently growing sweet potatoes on about 8,200 acres (33 km2), contributing $19 million dollars to the state's economy. Mississippi's top five sweet potato producing counties are Calhoun,ChickasawPontotocYalobusha, and Panola. The National Sweet Potato Festival is held annually the entire first week in November in Vardaman (Calhoun County), which proclaims itself as "The Sweet Potato Capital". The town of Benton, Kentucky celebrates the sweet potato annually with its Tater Day Festival on the first Monday of April. The town of Gleason, Tennessee celebrates the sweet potato on Labor Day weekend with its Tater Town Special.

Thanks Wikipedia!

Now for the pictures!

My grandparents were here from New Mexico for the weekend, so I had some extra help form my grandpa.

About the average size that you would get at a grocery store

A little bigger........

THAT'S better!! This baby is my record at 5 1/2 pounds!

All 26 (basically from 3 of the plants)
These things will make awesome sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mmmmmmm......