October 15, 2011

You Dig?

September brought with it SWEET POTATOES!!! Thus leading Thomas to declare, once more, that this will be his new, sole crop and his path to sane farming. I stood back as resident buzz kill, shaking head, repeating: “way to hedge your bets, buddy.” Some other people became completely reliant on potatoes before and we call them Ireland. Didn’t turn out so well. I’ll still root for diversification and leave the broad sweeping declarations to Thomas.  Here are our favorite great things about sweet potatoes:

  • Plant, water, wait, dig. If they take root in May, we may have to weed once but for the most part, we don’t worry too much about them until September. They keep the ground covered and grow steadily as we go about our business fretting over tomato blights and wild onions in the salad mix. 
  • There’s more tasty potatoes than one. We grow sweet, mild, savory, starchy, juicy, dry, purple, orange, yellow, white, small, medium, and huge. Our seed saving savior and sweet potato enthusiast started us off with our first diversified sweet potato crop last year and guided us through our own propagation this spring. Some of these heirlooms are hundreds of years old, some are new hybrids from NC State. All of which are non-GMO.
  • Sit and Sell.  After we cure our sweet potatoes in October, they are stable for storage in a cool dry place, like Mama Carson’s basement. We go in each Saturday morning, pick a variety and go off to market. They don’t taste old or lose texture, sweet potatoes are marathon keepers if they like where they are.
  • They are the starch free potato. Well, this isn’t really the most important aspect of sweet potatoes, seeing as how we need our carbs around here and neither of us is watching our figure. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that sweet potatoes are not potatoes at all. They are a bonafide super food root vegetable, just like a beet or turnip, and nutritionally complete. The sugars are appropriate for diabetics.
  • More versatile than shrimp. Here are a few recipes we came to rely on last winter and we’re sure to find more this time around:  sweet potato biscuits, sweet potato pancakes, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato hash browns, sweet potato pecan bread, sweet potato fries, sweet potato and kale quesadillas, sweet potato salad, rosemary roasted sweet potatoes with goat cheese, spinach quiche with sweet potato “crust”, sweet potato oatmeal cookies, baked sweet potato (no brown sugar necessary!) sweet potato pie, chocolate sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth. We never tired of them.
Our dear former intern, Erika Kuhn came down to dig some sweet potatoes this month and brought with her these (real old timey film!) photos she took on the farm this summer. Here’s a look back at the beginnings of peak season told through these beautiful photos. Thanks Erika!