APS nutritionists say: “Eat your veggies!” (But sweetly)

Atlanta Public Schools’ nutrition department is proud to offer its featured Produce of the Month, in which they select a produce item that will be an integral side item in school meals. October’s selection: North Carolina sweet potatoes.

For the uninitiated, there are approximately 400 different types of sweet potatoes. The sweet potato has yellow or orange flesh, and its thin skin may either be white, yellow, orange, red or purple. Sometimes this root vegetable will be shaped like a potato, being short and blocky with rounded ends, while other times it will be longer with tapered ends.

There is often a lot of confusion between sweet potatoes and yams; the moist-fleshed, orange-colored root vegetable that is often called a “yam” is actually a sweet potato.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, This root vegetable is an amazing source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

October’s sweet potatoes are grown in Nash, N.C., at J.B. Rose & Sons Farm. The farm was started by J.B. Rose after World War II with only 3 acres that were a gift from his farmer. J.B. Rose’s son, Allen Rose, started growing sweet potatoes in 1983. Today, J.B. Rose & Sons Farm grows sweet potatoes on 450 acres. J.B. Rose & Sons grows the Beauregard and Hernandez sweet potato varieties. Allen says the key to growing a good crop is to select the right land, use a good crop rotation, select a good seed stock and follow a good fertilization program. Allen plants his sweet potatoes in May and harvests his crop 90-120 days later, when most are in the No. 1 class.

We encourage everyone to check out these sweet potatoes at lunch on Family Day, Thursday, Oct. 15!

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