Whether they’re served baked, fried, in a pie, or at Thanksgiving dinner with marshmallows, sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamins A , C, and B6, Maganese, Iron and Potassium. They add color to a plate, texture (and fiber) to a meal, and they’re delicious!
Researchers at NC State University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences have made their mark breeding better sweet potatoes, most recently with the Covington – named for Henry M. Covington, an NCSU extension specialist who earned the nickname “Mr. Sweet Potato” in the 1950s.
The Covington was developed by sweet potato breeders Dr. Craig Yencho and Kenneth Pecota, and released to growers in 2005. It accounts for 90 percent of the sweet potatoes planted in North Carolina and 20 percent grown nationwide. Gross revenue from the Covington to the sweet potato industry reached $150 million in 2010. In addition to high yield, the Covington is known for its high quality and superior storage life. The Beauregard better watch out!
“The shelf life of Covingtons is so much better (than Beauregards). And they have a more uniform shape,” says David Godwin, owner of Godwin Produce Co., in Dunn, NC.
Aside from developing a better sweet potato to eat, researchers also developed ornamental sweet potato varieties, which are sold at garden centers. And they’re currently working on an “industrial sweet potato” that could be used to produce biofuels. Read more at http://potatoes.ncsu.edu/.