Uber-healthy compared to your standard spud, sweet potatoes are nature’s orange-hued, starchy candy. Put ‘em in pie, dunk some in ketchup, or top with mini marshmallows; you can do a lot of deliciousness with these guys. They’ve also got some quirky stories to share.
Their aroma took an entire town hostage
The community of Farmville, North Carolina (no relation to the game) experienced an emergency when an entire silo of dried sweets was engulfed in flames. Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration had firefighters pumping upwards of 26 million gallons of water into the structure to extinguish the fire. The resulting smoke wafted throughout Farmville for over three weeks. This demonstrated that there is, in fact, too much of a good thing.
They’ve been lead singer in a band
Photo: Melinda Todd
Well, at least on the silver screen. Former American Idol contestant and Dancing with the Stars champ Kellie Pickler portrayed a tuber in a full-length film in 2014. Her character’s name was Mirabelle, and that flick was VeggieTales: Beauty and the Beet. As the lead singer of her family’s band, Mirabelle — we mean Pickler — belted out eight of the 10 featured songs. Wonder if she got any produce perks at her local supermarket?
Sweet potato diets were a thing
Photo: Eat This
Diets are nothing new. The ones celebrities are following seem to get the most attention, though. And Korean celebs have got potatoes on their mind, as one of these weight loss plans involves copious amounts of them. K-pop girl group Secret shared their diet that involved consuming five sweet potatoes in a week. The reasoning: low calorie count + high in fiber and water = dropping a deuce more frequently. Heck, if it works . . .
Two varieties are saving malnourished populations
Researcher Sunette Laurie was on a mission to find the perfect sweet potato for farmers to harvest in South Africa. The requirements: higher dry matter content, a firm texture, and sweet taste. After testing a dozen varieties in various climates for adaptability, she narrowed it down to Purple Sunset and Implio ones. Her efforts now nourish natives with crops that counter the prevalent Vitamin A deficiency. You go, girl!
Musicians make excellent sweet potato sales reps
Photo: LA Magazine
Ms.Patti LaBelle currently sells a line of sweet potato pies exclusively at Walmart. Thanks to a superfan, a video praising the dessert went viral with over 10 million views. It also made Patti’s pies in such high demand that the chain is in the weeds trying to keep up with orders. However, she is not the first crooner to make a profit off the orange veg. Singer Lloyd Price manages Icon Food Brands, which includes Lawdy Miss Clawdy sweet potato cookies, named after his first hit.
Vardaman, Mississippi loves their sweet potatoes
Photo: Porter Briggs
The town is the self-proclaimed “Sweet Potato Capital of the World,” and they celebrate their devotion with a week-long festival in early November. It’s been going on for 42 years and counting in the area named after James Kimble Vardaman, former Mississippi governor and senator. Festival highlights include tractor judging, pageantry, and (of course) pie-eating contests. If you can’t wait ’til November, then head to Benton, Kentucky in April, where they hold a Tater Day Festival that includes a carnival, baking, and canning competitions. Time for a road trip, sweet potato fans!