The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a native American plant found by Columbus and his shipmates, probably on the West Indies islands off the coast of Yucatan and Honduras. In colonial days, George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his Virginia farm. Years later, George Washington Carver developed over 100 different products from sweet potatoes, including an alternative to corn syrup. During World War I, the USDA used sweet potato flour to stretch wheat flour in baked goods.
Despite its name, the sweet potato is not related to the potato. Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family, while potatoes are members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, red peppers and eggplant.
Despite a physical similarity, sweet potatoes and yams are not related either. Yams are actually related to grasses and lilies. Most yams marketed in the United States are sweet potatoes with a relatively moist texture and orange flesh. The native sweet potato is dry fleshed and pale yellow. When producers and shippers began growing orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in the southern United States, they needed to distinguish them from the lighter fleshed types. Although “sweet potato” and “yam” are generally used interchangeably, the USDA requires that sweet potatoes labeled “yam” always be accompanied by “sweet potato” to differentiate them from true yams. April 2013 ... Sweet Potatoes
- Bright Harvest, Clarksville, Arkansas - Example of a large-scale producer offering semi-processed products.
- Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: A Report to the United States Congress, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2009 - According to this report, total fruit and vegetable availability will continue to increase if current trends prevail, but canned fruits and vegetables will account for a declining share of that total.
- Crop Production, 2012 Summary, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2013.
- Crop Values, 2012 Summary, NASS, USDA, 2013.
- Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS), Foreign Ag Service (FAS), USDA.
- International Potato Center (CIP), La Molina, Peru.
- Kenya: Sweet Potato Production and Marketing, FAO, United Nations - Example of a well-analyzed production, postharvest and marketing system that discusses margins in the supply chain and consumption trends.
- Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Mound Bayou Sweet Potatoes, MAC and Glory Foods, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University, 2004 - Chronicles the formation of the Sweet Potato Growers Association.
- North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, Benson, North Carolina.
- Sweet Potatoes, Sustainable Practices for Vegetable Production in the South, North Carolina State University, 2001 - Various topics including history, use and postharvest information.
- Sweet Potato, Another American, Texas A&M University, 2000.
- Sweet Potato Council of California, Livingston, California.
- Sweet Potatoes, LSU Ag Center, Louisiana State University.
- Sweet Potatoes, Vegetables and Melons Outlook, ERS, USDA, 2008.
- Sweet Potato Out-Yields Corn in Ethanol Production Study, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA, 2008 - In experiments, sweet potatoes yielded two to three times as much carbohydrate for fuel ethanol production as field corn grown.
- U.S. Sweet Potato Council, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina.
- Vegetables and Melons Outlook, ERS, USDA.
- Vegetables and Melons Yearbook Data, ERS, USDA.
Links checked January 2013.