Southern Agenda

Some Like it Sweet

Right around Labor Day (September 5), some seven thousand acres of Louisiana sweet potatoes will become ripe for the digging in the northeastern part of the state. Since 1948, Louisiana State University’s agricultural program has run its own dedicated sweet potato research station, which crossed heirlooms to create today’s most popular varieties: Beauregard, Orleans, Bayou Belle, and extra-sweet Evangeline, the personal favorite of René Simon, the director of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. “I eat them baked plain, no sugar, no cinnamon, skin and all,” he says. But any Louisiana sweet potato, he adds, plays well in a crawfish boil to sweeten the pot and cut through the spice. Simon recommends one small sweet potato per crawfish eater, with a few extra thrown in for good measure.