Locavore: sweet potato enlightenment.

Locavore, n.

a person who eats food produced locally, within a 100 mile radius.

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We embark upon a new “Locavore” series as of today. Look forward to recipes made from in-season, local ingredients.

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Since I write from North Carolina’s CSAs and Farmers Markets, I’ll focus on ingredients produced in the Southeast.

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The inspiration for this series comes from a bunch of sixth graders and a class I taught them on “Food Sustainability.” I didn’t realize it would be so difficult to tell kids where their food comes from; America’s food industry is in dire straits.

American consumers demand the same vegetables year-round. Yet mother nature doesn’t work that way. She creates a thing called winter that freezes the ground and makes growing certain vegetables difficult. So we Americans use fossil fuels to ship our cucumbers and tomatoes from summery fields south of the equator up north to our wintry supermarket shelves.

Although our equatorial method is crafty, it’s not sustainable; we can’t eat bananas from Guatemala forever. Global oil reserves exponentially decrease while our atmospheric carbon levels exponentially increase and America won’t be able to depend on fossil fuels to transport its travel-wary summer squash in December for very much longer.

In honor of local eating, here’s a North Carolina winter recipe, Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes. North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the United States and grows 40% of the country’s supply. Sweet potatoes store well in farm cellars and the ground, making them the perfect year-round vegetable even in North Carolina’s occasional frosty weather. Made with local sweet potatoes, apples, onions, and honey, this recipe fantastically balances sweet and sour. This side or salad topper’s sweet potato orange and candy apple red is so bright, it’ll be sure to rouse you and your taste buds from gray winter days.

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Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes

This recipe was invented by my friend, M.K., and inspired by the blog Whole Living.

Serves 4.

2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (I prefer Fuji or Braeburn)
3 cups sliced sweet potatoes (leave the peel on when you use local, organic potatoes; the skin is yummy and nutritious)
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 large onion, peeled, trimmed, and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss sweet potatoes, apples, olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and tender, stirring a couple times.
  3. In the meantime, caramelize the onion with olive oil and salt. Add a pinch of baking soda to speed up caramelization (optional.)
  4. In a small bowl, mix apple cider vinegar and honey. Toss your onions and roasted creation in a serving bowl and drizzle vinegar-honey mixture on top. Add walnuts (optional,) salt, and pepper to taste. Serve warm with local love.

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2 thoughts on “Locavore: sweet potato enlightenment.

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