Welcome the sweet potato, Alabama’s official state vegetable

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BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a unique bill into law this week that named the sweet potato as the state’s official vegetable.

The Bill (SB171) states the certification comes after the Bicentennial Celebration of Alabama in 2020.

According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Baldwin and Cullman counties are the leading regions for sweet potato farming.

Pile of harvested sweet potatoes, Maryland. (Photo by: Edwin Remsberg / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I am very proud and excited that Governor Ivey is honoring the sweet potato by making it the official state vegetable. My family farm has been raising and shipping sweet potatoes in Baldwin county since 1954. Sweet potatoes are near and dear to our hearts.  I feel as though locals are largely unaware of the massive impact and scale of the potatoes grown in this county.”

Daniel Penry, Penry Farms in Daphne

The Senate bill claims sweet potatoes are one of the state’s main crops bring in an estimated $9 million annually.

The sandy loam soil of the state allows sweet potatoes to grow quickly and freely, enabling Alabama to produce some of the largest and tastiest sweet potatoes in the country.

The starch heavy edible root has been featured in the Food Network as a “top food to eat in Alabama,” according to the bill. Southern Living Magazine titles the veggie as a Southern holiday tradition. – SB171

Sweet potatoes. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Penry Farms encourages Alabama residents to buy local when it comes to sweet potatoes. You can find more information about them here.

“We still have fruit stands and local markets that refuse to buy local, often “citing” the “superiority of the Mississippi sweet potato” – we obviously could not feel more strongly that this is an untruth and a problem. Alabama produces sweet potatoes that are superior, desired international, and sought after by the world’s largest, most competitive grocery dealers. It surprises us then, how little impact we have actually had locally. (I’m being brutally honest here) – we would love a county of chefs, cooks, and even home kitchens that push to innovate and embrace sweet potatoes as a local product that is unique and valuable.”

Daniel Penry, Penry Farms in Daphne

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