Sweet-potato kin

June 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm 3 comments

I’ve never met Stanley Hughes,but I feel like I know him. His sweet potatoes show up on my table every week of the year, so it seems like we’re foodshed kinfolk. Sweet potatoes are the favorite vegetable at our house. We usually just roast them with butter.  After carmelizing in the oven, they need no further sweetening. Sometimes I make sweet potato and onion quesadillas for supper or sweet potato hash browns for brunch. 

We’re thrilled to have this local organic source year round from the Hughes’ Pine Knot Farm in Hurdle Mills,N.C., just 30 miles or so from our place in Pittsboro.  The fact that he grows our favorite, and probably most nutritious, dinner staple on land that has been in his family for three generations, makes it even more special.

I buy the sweet taters at Chatham Marketplace, our natural foods co-op just two miles from our back door. Organic, local, affordable, high in anti-oxidants, low in carbon emission and, did I mention,  indescribably delicious. It doesn’t get much better than this.

This summer I’m trying to deepen the roots of our sweet spud connection. I remembered that back in grade school, I learned to sprout sweet potato slips by putting the whole vegetable in a glass of water. I would watch the roots miraculously fill up the glass and the sprouts spill over the top and reach for the floor.

So last month I took a couple of  Pine Knot’ Beauregards from our spud stash and stuck  them in water to grow on the windowsill.  Last week,  after the sprouts had grown more than 6 inches long, I snipped them off and planted them gently in a large raised bed in the backyard. With luck, sun,water, mo-jo from my compost and nutrients from Hughes family soil dating back to 1912, I might be harvesting a new generational line of  Hughes potatoes this fall.

We may just have to have a sweet potato family re-union.

Entry filed under: Sustainable Food, Uncategorized. Tags: .

Another reason to ‘buy direct’ from our farmers Locavore cuisine with an international flavor

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Linda Leach-Hughes  |  July 14, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for that well written blog about my husband Stanley. I will share this with him on tonight once he finally ends his long day from sunrise to sunset. You are really a GREAT person to think of his sweet potatoes and compliment Stanley at the same time.

    We appreciate you very much.


    • 2. sustainablegrub  |  July 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm

      Dear Linda,

      I’m so glad you saw my post and will share it with your husband. His sweet potatoes make my day. I’m looking forward to fall to see whether my modest planting will produce any potatoes. Even if they do, I’ll keep buying more from your farm cause we need so many to get us through the year.

      Best wishes,

  • 3. Subterranean sustenance « sustainable grub  |  September 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    […] 21, 2009 Last June I sang the praises of Stanley Hughes, who grows the finest organic sweet potatoes for miles around at his Pine Knot Farm in Hurdle […]


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