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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

From Farm To Table With Sweet Potatoes And Yams

Two recipes in the podcast, including Parsnip Soup With Sweet Potato Leaves. We talk with a farmer who grows sweet potatoes and plant potato seeds of our own.

two sweet potatoes

Photo: FotoosVanRobin (Flickr)

These sweet potatoes are often mistaken for yams in the U.S., but the two veggies aren't even distantly related.

Shopping At The Market

We’re talking yams and sweet potatoes today. So first things first, let’s pick some up from the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market. I stopped by one of the busiest tables manned by Marcia Veldman of Meadowlark Farms. She’s selling gigantic sweet potatoes, herbs and greens like Swiss chard and mustard greens.

One table over, I picked up some parsnips for this first recipe. In this soup recipe, we’re using a part of the sweet potato plant you may never have eaten before: the leaves.

Living And Eating Together

Cooperate Living and Ecovillages seem to be popping up around Bloomington. The city recently approved one group to build a village of 10 houses on the west side Bloomington.

But for the last story in a three part series on cooperative living, WFIU’s Gretchen Frazee went to the other side of the city to visit the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden where neighbors and students share work and food. Instead of building a new village, they’re trying to re-envision an existing neighborhood.

Three Types Of Tubers

Around St. Patrick’s Day, Chef Daniel Orr fills up his baskets with potato seeds. Then when you’re ready to make that potato salad for Fourth of July, they’ll be ready.

Sweet potatoes and yams have come to mean the same thing in the U.S. but in reality yams aren’t even distantly related to sweet potatoes. They grow well in tropical climates, and they’re much larger and generally considered to be much sweeter than sweet potatoes. Yams are starting to appear more and more at markets in the U.S., so keep your eye out for one and then make this tasty and very quick recipe: Yams with Goat Cheese.

News Stories In This Show:

Stories On This Episode

Meet A Farmer: Marcia Veldman, Meadowlark Farm

Marcia Veldman of Meadowlark Farm

Customers visit the Meadowlark Farm table to buy sweet potatoes and leafy greens. Friendly conversations are free of charge.

Parsnip Soup With Sweet Potato Leaves

parsnip soup with sweet potato leaves in a pot

Celebrate the cold weather by making a soup with some seasonal ingredients: parsnips and sweet potato leaves.

Neighbor Garden Is A Vision For Larger Cooperative Movement


Green Acres is a neighborhood which some of its residents envision could be an ecovillage.

Christine Barbour Knows Sweet Potatoes

cubed sweet potatoes soaked in water in a pot

Sweet potatoes go so well with so many really great flavors, like curry, cinnamon, and ginger.

Quick And Healthy: Yams With Goat Cheese

sweet potato

Yams are a powerhouse of nutrients. As compared to their distant cousin the potato, yams have a lower glycemic index, so they also help you stay fuller longer.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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