The Sweet Potato and the Yam
The sweet potato has been used for food since prehistoric times in tropical America and on some South Pacific Islands. Columbus found native Americans eating it in the west Indies and
probably brought this new food to Europe about 1500. The Spanish used the native American name "batata" or "padada". The sweet potato's scientific name is "Ipomoea batatas".
The word "yam" comes from the Africa word "nyami" and refers to the starchy, edible root of the Discorea genus of plants.
Some people try to distinguish between sweet potatoes and yams by the degree of moisture. It is generally thought that the yam is a more moist sweet potato.
Varieties vary in degree if moistness. The Yellow Hannah and Golden Sweet are both dry types of sweet potatoes whereas the Garnet, Jewel, Beauregard and others are more moist types of
sweet potatoes which are referred to as yams.
Actually, all yams grown in the United States are sweet potatoes and the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that they be labeled as such. In general usage, however, the terms are
Description of California
SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS
BEAUREGARD YAMS; the Beauregard has a copper-orange exterior with the interior meat being a bright orange with an oblong shape and a semi-smooth exterior, with the meat tender and moist.
GARNET YAMS; The Garnet has a purple to a dark red exterior with the interior meat being a dark orange with a slightly elongated shape and a semi-smooth exterior, with the meat tender and
RED DIANE YAMS; The Diane has a rose colored exterior with the interior meat being bright orange with an oblong shape and a semi-smooth exterior with the meat tender and moist. This yam
was developed from a cross between the Garnet and Beauregard.
HANNAH SWEETS; The Hannah has off-white-tan-creamy exterior with the interior meat being yellowish with an oblong shape and semi-smooth exterior, with the meat being tender but somewhat
All sweet potatoes and yams are actually sweet potatoes which originally came from South America in the 1800's as a root, California is the only state that uses the term yam developed in
the 1900;s as California growers began growing this crop used this term for marketing and it stuck also now it separates the many varieties that California grows.
California now ships year-round with harvesting beginning in August and ending late October of each year. The potatoes are then stored in temperature controlled storage facilities kept at
55 degrees and 50-70 humidity, 1000 lb. bins are then taken as needed for daily packing and then they are washed, dried and hand sorted the put into 40 pound cartons for shipping. There are three different sizes; #1
45-55 count, Jumbo's 18-22 count, Mediums 75-85 count.
Beauregards are the biggest percentage of the crop, next are the Red Dianes and Garnet with the Hannahs being the smallest percentage grown and shipped.