Viroqua Food Co-op Recipe Blog

Sweet Potatoes 101

Posted by Shana Meshbesher on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 07:43 PM

Sweet potatoes are a sweet, starchy tuber of the plant Ipomoea batatas, which is native to the tropical region of the Americas. They are very nutritious and high in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium and fiber. Today, there are hundreds of varieties of cultivated sweet potatoes that range in color from white to orange to purple.

The words “sweet potato” and “yam” are often thrown around interchangeably, but they are two different plants. Sweet potatoes, with their smooth and thin skin, are in the morning glory family, while rough and scaly yams are related to lilies. Yams are rarely available “fresh” in the United States.

Sweet potatoes have long been cultivated in southern US and many thought they were nearly impossible to grow in Wisconsin. This all changed in the last ten years. Local farmers experimented and discovered varieties of sweet potatoes that would grow in the north. Today we get a bountiful supply of organic sweet potatoes from Levi Miller, an Amish farmer in Mt.Hope, WI that you can find in our produce section October-March each year.

Last year, VFC Customers purchased 11,248 pounds of local sweet potatoes from Levi Miller!

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Tags: Recipes, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes-Yams

Potatoes 101

Posted by Shana Meshbesher on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 01:26 PM

Potatoes are a tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum. They are part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. There are over 100 different varieties of potatoes and each one has its own taste and texture.

Potatoes are the epitome of comfort foods! They are number one when it comes to vegetable consumption. The average American eats almost 125 pounds of spuds each year.

Lucky for us – Wisconsin is the third-largest producer in the United States, behind Idaho and Washington. Locally, we have a number of farmers who grow and sell potatoes to us, including Driftless Organics. This farm, located on a ridge near Soldiers Grove, is well known for their 5-pound bags of certified organic red or yellow potatoes. Find them in our produce department September-February.

Last year, VFC Customers purchased 18,980 pounds of local potatoes from Driftless Organics and Hugh’s Gardens!

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Tags: Recipes, Potatoes