The Great Sweet Potato State

ImageSweet Potatoes at the Farm: Carver, Covington, All Purple, Violetta (Left to Right)

North Carolina is the number one producer of sweet potatoes in the United States and the Student Farm is adding to the state’s great tradition. The Student Farm is offering several great varieties of sweet potatoes this year including All Purple, Violetta, Covington and Carver. The harvest has already begun and on Wednesday the students dug up over 100 pounds. The sweet potatoes are now curing and soon they will be available. All Purple is an heirloom and a traditional Japanese variety that is slightly starchy and sweet, which makes it versatile for use in many recipes. Violetta is another heirloom type with a beautiful purple skin with white flesh. The Covington sweet potato is the most widely planted sweet potato in North Carolina and has moist, orange flesh. Finally, there is the heirloom Carver (think George Washington Carver) which has a deep orange skin and flesh. Sweet potatoes are praised as a superfood because of the high content of vitamins A and C, so eat up! Sweet potatoes are easy to cook and very versatile. Kids enjoy eating them and sweet potatoes make an amazing baby food. I am excited to see what the Chefs in the culinary department will create from these beautiful varieties, may I suggest an All Purple sweet potato pie!? After you make that pie, check out this interesting recipe (Martha Stewart Living, November 2007).

Mashed Red-Curry Sweet Potatoes


6 medium sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons Thai red-curry paste
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for dishes
1 teaspoon coarse salt


Step 1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Bake on a baking sheet until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly. Peel potatoes, transfer to a bowl, and mash with a potato masher.

Step 2

Bring coconut milk and curry paste to a simmer in a saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes along with 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons butter, and the salt, and stir.

Step 3

Preheat broiler. Butter six 1-cup gratin dishes or one 6-cup baking dish. Spoon mixture into dishes, and smooth tops. Drizzle with remaining maple syrup. Dot with remaining butter, cut into small pieces. Broil until tops are sizzling and browned, 3 to 4 minutes.


ImageSweet Potato Field at the Student Farm

Published by Lauren Hill


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