Our favorite way to make sweet potatoes is “baked fries: which basically means cutting them up like fries and then baking them with some salt, pepper and olive oil. That is just one of the many ways sweet potatoes will show up on tables throughout the country tomorrow. The sweet potato has a long history in the South but seems to be enjoying popularity everywhere right now because it is delicious and good for you. But getting the sweet potatoes out of the ground and on their way to a store involves a great deal of work: The potatoes have to be sorted and collected in buckets and when full (and weighing about 30 pounds) , they have to be loaded into trucks, the entire process being repeated between 400 to 500 times a day.
The story of those who pick them is rarely heard but in this piece, the reality of long days of back breaking labor is sweetened by the narrative of two pickers who met while picking peppers, are now married with a baby son, who move from sweet potato fields to tobacco, building a life for their family and delicious moments for us. We are thankful that our plates are full because of farmers and farm workers like them.
And bonus fun fact: did you know that sweet potato is a natural GMO?!
(Image Courtesy: “Sweet Potato on the White Background” by Sommai, freedigitalphotos.net)