California Production

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California Rankings

California ranks third in acres planted in sweet potatoes in the United States with about 25,000 acres and first in production yields per acre farmed.

Over 85% of California sweet potato production is in Merced County, geographically located in the center of the state in the most productive agricultural area in the world – the San Joaquin Valley. In Merced County, the crop has a farm gate value of more than $100 million.

California grows many types of sweet potatoes and yams, however, you typically find three kinds in the store:

As compared to other states, California grows many types of sweet potatoes. Traditionally consumers would typically find 1-3 varieties in the supermarkets, but now consumers will find that most varieties of sweet potatoes are available in many local supermarkets and Farmer’s Markets. If they are not, you can request them to your supermarket produce manager.

Sweets/O’Henry/DS White/Bonita

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Yellow to cream-colored flesh and drier than the orange fleshed varieties, with a mild, nutty taste. They make excellent alternatives to standard Irish potatoes. Perfect in casseroles and side dishes, or simply baked, and can be a nice change of pace in recipes that traditionally call for white potatoes. Varieties include O’Henry, DS White and Bonita.

Oriental/Murasaki Sweet Potatoes

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Dark purple outside and a creamy white inside. This sweet potato is known as either an Oriental or Japanese Sweet and has a full, nutty flavor. They are an exotic alternative to traditional sweet potatoes, and an eye-opening alternative to Irish potatoes.

Covington/Jewel Beauregard Sweet Potatoes

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Bright orange flesh, copper-colored skin, moist and sweet to taste. They are excellent for baking, roasting or in casseroles. When consumers think of a yam, they think of the Beauregard.

Diane/Garnet Sweet Potatoes

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Extra-moist and flavorful, with orange insides and a red-copper to plum-colored skin. Red yam varieties include the Diane, Maryland Red and Garnet.

Purple/Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes

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Dark, vivid skin and vibrant purple flesh. This is a Relatively new and unique variety that is grown and sold exclusively in California by A.V. Thomas Produce. It is most similar to the oriental sweet potato characteristics in that it is very nutty and sweet and dryer than orange flesh varieties. It can also be used as an exotic alternative in any recipe that calls for regular potatoes.

BenYagi Sweet Potatoes

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Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

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This vibrantly colored sweet potato is rich in flavor and packed with nutritional benefits. Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes. Known for being a super food rich in antioxidants , known as anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the beautiful color of the flesh.