Americans have known and appreciated the sweet potato for centuries. In the U.S. this product is often on the dinner table, prepared in many different ways. However, the name of the sweet potato is misleading, because it is not really related to the potato. It is oblong, of orange color and tastes slightly sweet. “Sweet potatoes do not look like much, but they taste great. We are seeing an exploding demand, especially for the purple Nash variety,” says Joseph Renz, the German representative of American production company Scott Farms International.
One of the largest US sweet potato growing areas is in North Carolina, where the climate is warm and particularly favorable. The popular Covington variety is mainly cultivated there and in other southern states. Every year about 271,000 tons of tubers are produced, most of which are stored after harvesting at 12 to 15° C. For five to ten days, the sweet potatoes are exposed to temperatures between 26 and 29° C, so that their starch converts to sugar and the sweet aroma of the Covington fully develops. These optimum conditions make it possible to store the produce for up to twelve months maintaining a high, consistent quality. That's why sweet potatoes are available all year round.