Posts Tagged “sweet potatoes”

Bako Sweet Celebrates Heart-Healthy Sweet Potatoes

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Bakersfield, CA based Country Sweet Produce’s Bako Sweet line of sweet potatoes are now certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program just in time to celebrate American Heart Month and National Sweet Potato Month this February.

As shoppers look for healthier, but still tasty ways to incorporate fresh foods into their diets this year, sweet potatoes remain top of mind. Not only are they heart-healthy, but they have also taken center stage as a gluten-free alternative thanks to Whole30 influencers who brought us sweet potato toast and Vegan influencers who made sweet potatoes the star of so many plant-based dishes. Just last month, Bako Sweet’s Organic Sweet Potato Steam Bags won the Eat This, Not That 2022 Food Award for Best Healthy Starchy Side.

To celebrate National Sweet Potato Month this month, Bako Sweet is hosting a Grown With Love giveaway on its Instagram page from Feb. 1 – 28, where people have the opportunity to win a year of free sweet potatoes, a heart-shaped Le Creuset dish, and their new “sweet potato lovers” swag. Last year the brand hosted a similar giveaway and saw more than 5,000 participants.

Bako Sweet offers a library of heart-healthy recipes that also work well for Superbowl and Valentine’s Day, including:

“Sweet potatoes are such a fun food and their nutritious benefit is hard to beat since they are rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and loaded with fiber,” said Whitney Stuart, dietitian and diabetes educator at Whitness Nutrition. “A sweet potato is the perfect high-fiber compliment to any meal since they can be used for sweet or savory dishes.”

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Unique Varieties Gain Popularity with Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Over a recent 16-year period North Carolina sweet potato volume has jumped by 42 percent. That translates into consumer consumption hitting 7.2 pounds per capita. 

The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission reports much of the increase is attributed in large part to consumers searching for healthy food choices. This ranges from fries, to fresh cuts, and sweet potato tater tots. 

While the majority of the N.C. crop remains the conventional orange-fleshed covington variety, there is growing consumer interest in organics. There is a perception among consumers that ‘organic’ means healthy. However, research finds no difference in nutritional value between organic and conventionally grown. So it becomes a matter of producers meeting consumer demand.

Of the newer varieties, purple sweet potatoes with their purple-tinted skin and violet flesh are gaining in popularity. Plus, being a novelty is an attraction to some consumers. 

Vick Family Farms of Wilson, N.C., reports shipping more organic and specialty varieties as niche items, such as reddish-purple, white-fleshed murasaki, to retail supermarkets. These were developed at the University of Louisiana in the early 2000s, and the sweet bonita, with its tan skin and white flesh. Vick also still grows a few acres of beauregards, red-copper tubers with deep orange flesh. Nash Produce of Nashville, N.C. is seeing an increase in demand for its organics, bonita and murasaki varieties. 


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N.C. Sweet Potato Shipper is Pushing Health Benefits

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A North Carolina sweet potato grower and shipper is promoting the health benefits of North Carolina Sweet potatoes this season.

Nash Produce of Nashville, N.C. reports sweet potatoes are becoming very popular because it is packed with fiber in addition to many essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, the sweet potato is a well-rounded product that doesn’t require a lot of extra effort. 

The company notes Consumers are increasingly interested in incorporating the tasty tuber in their snacks and meals, whether with restaurants or at their local supermarket.

Nash Produce plans to highlight the value of health and versatility of the sweet potato this year as studies are showing health benefits to consuming sweet potatoes due to their naturally high levels in beta-carotene, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

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Sweet Potato Popularity is Showing Considerable Growth

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sweetpotatoesby Jennifer Bond, USDA Economic Research Service

Chances are that if you order a side of fries at a restaurant, you need to specify whether you’re asking for white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Food trends that support the consumption of more healthful, colorful and unique foods have helped to encourage sales of sweet potatoes in the form of fries, chips, ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat preparations, expanding consumption of the orange tuber well beyond the holiday table.

Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes has grown considerably since 2000 with annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) rising from 4.2 pounds to reach a record-high 7.5 pounds in 2015. The marked rise in domestic demand has been encouraged by promotion of the health benefits of sweet potatoes – rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber. Expanded demand has also been supported by the increasing variety of sweet potato products available in restaurants and for home preparation.

To meet rising demand, sweet potato production has increased substantially in recent years, achieving a record-high production of 3.1 billion pounds in 2015. The 2015 harvest was a high-water mark in a 15-year trend of expansion that began in 2000 when U.S. production was just 1.3 billion pounds. In 2014 and 2015, sweet potato production increased by an average of about six percent per year.

Beyond U.S. borders, consumers are increasingly enjoying sweet potatoes and, like North Carolina, several of the other key growing States enjoy access to southern ports that provide a locational advantage for meeting export demand. With expanded sales to markets that include Canada and the United Kingdom, aggregate U.S. exports have steadily risen in recent years in parallel with climbing domestic demand.

In 2015, U.S. sweet potato exports reached a record-high 409 million pounds and exports for 2016 are poised to reach approximately the same level. Both internationally and here in the U.S., sweet potatoes are increasingly becoming a colorful addition to holiday-and everyday-dining tables.


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Popularity of Potatoes Continues with New Ways to Eat Them

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DSCN6944Potatoes remain a staple in the American diet,  whether fried or mashed.  In fact, potatoes account for 15 percent of all consumed vegetables.

Even though sweet potatoes are currently experiencing increased popularity, the potato remains king among Americans.  Over 44 billion pounds of potatoes were harvested in 2015, compared with just a little under 3 billion pounds of sweet potatoes.

One of the reasons potatoes continue to be such a dominant part of the American diet is inventing new ways to eat them.  Starting in 1970, processed potato products surpassed raw potatoes in sales, and consumption of fresh potatoes fell from a high of 81 pounds per person in 1960 to an average of 42 pounds by the 2000s.  But potato consumption has continued to increase as people find different ways to get their potato fix.  On average, Americans now eat 55 pounds of frozen potatoes per year in addition to 17 pounds of potato chips.

Potatoes’ distant vegetable relatives, squash and pumpkin (or eggplant, a type of squash), are not nearly as popular with Americans, but pumpkin production has steadily increased in recent years from a little less than 1 billion pounds in 2000 to a little more than 1.3 billion in 2014.  Squash production, on the other hand, has slowly declined from almost 900 million pounds in 2000 to a little under 575 million in 2014.

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Eastern Produce Shipments from Florida to Maine

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Strawberry shipments from the Plant City, FL area have been underway for more than a month, but only in very light volume.  This is changing as available loads will show significant increases by December 10, and be in big volume around December  15-20.  Central Florida also has very light volume with cherry, grape, roma and green tomatoes.  The area also is shipping variety of vegetables.  However, this overall is seasonally a very light volume period for Florida.  Expect multiple pickups to involved with most loads.

You may even have to fill out the trailer from those Florida pick ups with a few pallets of  cabbage, greens or broccoli from Southern Georgia.  In fact, the whole Eastern seaboard extending into the Northeast and New England doesn’t hold a lot of volume, but sometimes something is better than nothing.

In eastern growing areas of North Carolina, the biggest volume is with sweet potatoes, not necessarily known for paying the best freight rates…..In upstate New York, Orange County is shipping storage onions, while central and western areas are loading cabbage.  New York apples were hit pretty hard by freezing weather earlier this year, especially from western and central shipping points.  Even the Hudson Valley did not escape the freeze, although it came out better than the rest of the state.

In northern Maine, Aroostoock County is shipping around 150 truck loads of potatoes a week.

Maine potatoes – grossing about $1700 to New York City.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1500 to Atlanta.

Florida vegetables and strawberries – about $2600 to Boston.



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Thanksgiving Shipments on Some Items May be Less Than Normal

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Shipments of some Thanksgiving produce favorites could be light this year.

For example , in the Glades/Lake Okeechobee region of Florida the was excessive rains during plantings from mid-September to mid-October.  This may significantly reduce loads of green beans for the holidays, perhaps has much as 50 percent.  Also be on the look out for wind damage to some vegetable items such as green beans, due to winds from Hurricane Sandy.

Other growing regions  in south Florida will likely face similar reduced shipments.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato sales have increased to the point where normal times of the years, sales are close to those around the holidays.

Mississippi sweet potato shipments are expected to be lighter for Thanksgiving because of weather factors.


In Massachusetts and Wisconsin cranberries loads may down 10 percent.  These two states account for the vast majority of fresh cranberry shipments.  Make sure companies paying for the freight are aware the berries are smaller than normal this season.

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Sweet Potatoes are Cited a Number One Nutritious Food Item

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During recent years the sales of sweet potatoes  (also known as yams) have grown by about 20 percent per year.   The product is a staple in  food magazines, cookbooks and on television shows.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration the orange flesh sweet potato is the only major vegetable that contains four nutrients that exceed 10 percent of the recommended daily amount.

These four nutrients are vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C,  fiber and potassium.

Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany recently released a study stating serum concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta carotene were shown to be significantly lower in patients with mild dementia than in control persons. This opens the door to the possibility of influencing Alzheimer’s dementia by a person’s diet or dietary antioxidants.

It also has been reported previoiusl that the orange fleshed sweet potato is  the most nutritional fresh produce item on the planet.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest names sweet potatoes the No. 1 most nutritious food because they are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

Sweet potatoes also are city as a leading food item in ending world hunger? Apparently, they are.  A grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, has a campaign in action now that aims to do just that.

The project demonstrates how, by providing much-needed nutrients like vitamins C, A and B6 to undernourished children, sweet potatoes are helping to avert stunting and ensuring proper growth. In addition, sweet potatoes are cheap to produce and they are easy to grow in uncertain conditions: perfect for regions prone to drought and famine.


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Looking at Shipments of Grapefruit, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes

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This is the time of year when shipments of Florida grapefruit gets underway, as well as the new crop of sweet potatoes from various states coast-to-coast.  It also means shipments of avocados will soon be shipping from California to arrivals of ports of entry from Mexico, as well as at various ocean ports receiving avocados from Chile.

Florida Grapefruit Loads

There was a  shortage of California fruit and those shipments the first half of September ended about two weeks earlier than usual. Florida citrus shippers are beginning their new season shipping grapefruit right on schedule.   Growers in the Indian River region began harvesting the last week of September.  Loading opportunities for Florida grapefruit should start volume in early to mid-October.

Avocado Shipments

 Plenty of avocado shipments should be available as California supplies wind down and Mexican and Chilean shipments increase.

California loads will be available longer than usual this fall, and big volumes from Mexico will be crossing the border  in the coming weeks. By mid-October, California should be mostly finished for the season.

 Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato shipments in the USA may be down slightly this season, which extends through next summer.

As we previously reported, Louisiana and Mississippi were onlyslightly affected by Hurricane Isaac in late August….North Carolina and California are the largest shippers of sweet potatoes.

In 2011, there were 133,600 acres of sweet potatoes planted, while this year an estimated 131,400 acres planted.

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An Update on Fall National Produce Shipping Areas

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There will be a half dozen fresh potato shippers up and running in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota by the end of this week.  That is a few more than typically run in mid-September, but with an early wrap-up in Big Lake, MN, demand is quickly shifting to the Red River Valley. Cooler temperatures this week should speed the harvest even more. 

In North Carolina, the earliest shipping of cured sweet potatoes got underway September 17 from the new crop.  However, some shippers will be shipping the old sweet potato crop through September….North Carolina leads the nation in sweet potato volume, which comes off of 64,000 acres from various parts of the state.

Sweet onions from Peru are arriving at various USA ports.  Arrival of asparagus from Peru also are occurring, and should peak between now and into October.

Washington state is now shipping its second largest apple crop on record, estimated to be nearly 109 million boxes.

In California, pomegrante shipments are underway.  It joins a host of more common produce items ranging from table grapes and stone fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, to veggies from the Salinas area…..The Santa Maria district is shipping a wide variety of berries and vegetables, although not in the volume found around Salinas.  Freight rates fromt he Santa Maria district have risen slightly, while most other areas of the state are showing much change in rates, indicating adequate truck supplies.

Salinas Valley produce – grossing about $7200 to New York City.

Washington state fruit – about $4000 to Dallas.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $2250 to Chicago.

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