With sweet potatoes being such a big part of many people’s Thanksgiving meals, it seems only fitting that November has been declared Sweet Potato Month in North Carolina. The special recognition is also fitting because North Carolina is the top producer of sweet potatoes in the country.

“North Carolina farmers produce nearly half the total U.S. production of sweet potatoes. It is a crop that generates more than $175.8 million in cash receipts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Sweet potatoes are not only healthy for the economy, but they are a healthy and nutritious addition to the table.”

North Carolina sweet potato producers account for 47.3 percent of total U.S. production, and the crop represents the tremendous diversification of North Carolina agriculture. Nash, Sampson, Johnston, Wilson and Edgecombe are the top five sweet potato producing counties in the state. About 50,000 acres of sweet potatoes are being harvested this year, and North Carolina sweet potatoes are available year-round.

“Sweet potato dishes are a Thanksgiving tradition for my family, and I hope they are part of yours,” Troxler said.

In recognition of the official proclamation by Gov. Bev Perdue, the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have partnered in producing grower appreciation banners available through the commission. Contact the NCSPC at (919) 894-7018 or ncsweetsue@aol.com.