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LSPC rolling out exciting new campaign

Just about everyone loves a seafood boil, and just about everyone loves sweet potatoes. The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission is combining the two favorites in its newly launched promotion: Sweeten the Pot When You Boil Add Fresh Louisiana Yams.

“We are excited about this campaign, which introduces sweet potatoes in a new and delicious way,” said René Simon, executive director of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission and director of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA. “Recipes for crawfish, crab and shrimp boils with sweet potatoes are available on our website. They are well suited to smaller size and fingerling sweet potatoes, but work well with larger sizes with cooking time adjustments.”

The website is www.sweetpotato.org/sweet-potato-seafood-boil. Visitors will find a wide assortment of sweet potato recipes for every course of the meal.

Louisiana sweet potato growers are faring well this year, and the state is looking forward to a nice increase in acreage for next season.

LASP FF Sweeten-The-Pot Rouses-Ad-Press-Ready “About 55 percent of our 2016 crop is still in storage,” explained Simon. “The crop should last until late June or early July, which is normal. A few growers hold product a little longer to satisfy their steady customers.”

Of the approximate 9,300 acres planted last year, between 8,900 and 9,000 acres were actually harvested. The remainder was left in the fields during the last days of harvest due to heavy rain, which Simon said really hasn’t stopped since last fall.

“It seems that everyone is feeling the effects of this El Niño system,” he said. “But our acreage for the 2016 harvest will be closer to 10,000 acres, which is driven by demand, so things are looking up.

“The quality of what we have in storage is very good and prices are holding steady at about $17 a box,” he continued. “And demand is up across the board, including in exports.”

Louisiana growers export to Canada, but not offshore because eastern growers have a logistics advantage when shipping to European countries.

Growers in the state are also excited about a couple new varieties. The Orleans variety, introduced a few years ago, is performing extremely well.

“In some cases it’s surpassing the Beauregard, which has held the lead for several years,” said Simone. “The Bellevue variety is new this year. It has a slight copper-colored skin and orange flesh with high sugar content. It’s finding a little shelf space where people want something different.”