Here are a few factors that set Sweetpotatoes grown in California apart from the rest:
California’s generous sunshine and warm, dry climate provide the perfect conditions for the highest quality product by enabling lush, rapid growth and a year-round Sweetpotato supply.
Sand grown rather than being grown in dirt, California Sweetpotatoes are raised in a unique region in the San Joaquin Valley—a low spot where rivers deposited sand many, many years ago when water tables were higher. This special sandy loam naturally resists insects and weeds and is the perfect place for our sweetpotatoes to catch some rays.
Naturally sun-cured on the vine, California Sweetpotatoes are cured in the ground before harvest to increase shelf-life, rather than being picked first and then cured in sheds.
Beautiful shapes and skin texture are made possible by hand-planting, selecting, sorting, sizing and packing. Getting up-close and personal with each Sweetpotato not only ensures it meets our high California quality standards, it minimizes scaring and scratching that often results from a mechanized process.
Food-Safe(r) – California agricultural regulations are among the strictest in the world to ensure food safety and environmental accountability.
A proud agricultural history with deep roots that extend back several generations. John Bettencourt Avila (1865-1937), a Portuguese-American who settled in Merced County, California has been called the father of the Sweetpotato industry. Most California Sweetpotatoes are still family grown on legacy farms in Merced county, and its neighboring counties, Stanislaus and Kern, by attentive farmers using sustainable practices such as controlled fertilization and mindfully managed drip irrigation.
Wider variety – color, size, shape, flavor! There are many types of Sweetpotatoes, ranging from white and mild to deep red and super sweet. You can even find purple sweetpotatoes. Many are grown in small quantities and can be found at local farmers markets around California. Approximately 12 types are available commercially, but the four most popular ones from California found in grocery stores nationwide are:
- Jewell (Orange)
A favorite for mashing or roasting, the Jewell has rose-colored skin and super-sweet orange flesh. Eat it whole with your favorite toppings or cut into wedges and bake it as a side dish.
- Jersey (White)
The Jersey has a pale copper skin, almost like a potato, but don’t be fooled. This Sweetpotato’s white flesh is sweet, creamy and ideal for soups and stews.
- Oriental (Purple)
The Oriental looks like a potato on the inside, but its distinct purple skin most definitely sets it apart. This variety is great for cubing, shredding or frying, and perfect for Asian-inspired dishes.
- Garnet (Red)
This “Red” or “Garnet” Sweetpotato has red skin and deep orange flesh and is perfect for Sweetpotato fries or adding color to all sorts of dishes.