Photo courtesy of Jamie DeMent Holcomb, North Carolina farmer, cook, and author.
Did you know that North Carolina grows 60% of all sweet potatoes in the United States, leading the country in sweet potato production since 1971? Sweet potatoes need long, hot summer days to thrive, and we have plenty of those in North Carolina. So, it makes sense that the state has held onto its sweet potato crown for so long. The sweet potato also happens to be North Carolina’s State Vegetable.
At Happy Dirt, we work with some of the best sweet potato farmers in North Carolina, including farmers Randall Watkins, Stanley Hughes, and Neal Johnson. Watkins, one of the youngest sweet potato farmers in North Carolina, grows 100 acres of organic Garnet and Covington sweet potatoes. Hughes, who is a third-generation Black farmer in North Carolina, grows unique sweet potato varieties from Muraski to Purple to White Bonita. Neal Johnson, who is a fifth-generation farmer, grows 44 acres of organic sweet potatoes, including a new variety called Monaco.
(Left Photo) Randall Watkins, one of Happy Dirt’s farmer-owners and co-owner of Watkins Farm.
(Right Photo) Stanley Hughes, one of Happy Dirt’s farmer-owners and owner of Pine Knot Farm.
This year, we look forward to the different dishes we will make using organic sweet potatoes from North Carolina. If you’re looking for a tried-and-true sweet potato recipe for the holiday season, the Happy Dirt Sweet Potato recipe is one you’ll want to add to your recipe-card box.
Happy Dirt Sweet Potato Biscuits Recipe
What You Need:
2 North Carolina Sweet Potatoes
3 c. All-Purpose Flour
1/3 c. Shortening
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 c. Buttermilk
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place sweet potatoes in the oven and bake until soft. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, increase the temperature to 400 degrees.
- Remove, cool, and peel.
- Mash sweet potatoes with a fork until smooth.
Sift together 2 c. flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- Work shortening into flour mixture until crumbly and the shortening forms pea-sized balls.
- Whisk sweet potatoes and buttermilk together. Once the sweet potatoes and buttermilk are combined, add flour to the mixture and work into a ball.
- On a well-floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft. If needed, add flour while kneading the dough so it’s not sticky.
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to be ½ inches thick.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut each biscuit to your desired size and place on an ungreased baking sheet. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can use the top of a drinking glass!
- Bake for 12 minutes or until browned.
- Serve with butter and molasses.
For our sweet potatoes, we typically use Covingtons or garnets; however, we may switch it up and use purple sweet potatoes. After all, we love color. If you are a buyer interested in offering sweet potatoes from one of our sweet potato farmers, send us a note!