From the Los Angeles Times:
Bouncing down a dirt road, past emerald fields thick with sweet potato plants, farmer Robert Garcia hunched over the steering wheel of his pickup truck and grinned with glee.
It's the beginning of harvest season and, once again, his bounty of orange- and yellow-fleshed roots is looking promising.
"You used to see cotton fields and grapevines out here," said Garcia, 54, whose family grows and packs sweet potatoes out of their Central California farm operations.
"Now the talk is sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, how can I get more sweet potatoes?"
Forget the marshmallows and the Thanksgiving buffet table. The sweet potato has become a year-round food.
Over the last decade, Americans have more than doubled their consumption of the thin-skinned vegetable, according to the United States Sweet Potato Council: U.S. consumers, per capita, now wolf down 6.2 pounds of sweet potatoes each year.
Diners overseas, too, have developed a fondness for it. U.S. farmers exported 200.3 million pounds of sweet potatoes in 2010, up from 38.5 million pounds in 2000, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.