In 2015, our chapter of Slow Food focused on one main theme, the Nancy Hall Sweet Potato, and all that surrounds this regionally adapted, hard to find, delicious and unique variety. We partnered with local farmers, home gardeners, and local seed company Sow True Seed to conduct a variety trial and learn more about how this acclaimed sweet potato grows and tastes in the microclimates of Western North Carolina.
The Nancy Hall Sweet Potato is included in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste. The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. By identifying and championing these foods we keep them in production and on our plates.
Read about the Nancy Hall on the Ark of Taste.
In late May of last year, we bought 500 Nancy Hall sweet potato slips from a sweet local couple of homesteaders and sweet potato aficionados, Thomas and Hanah. We then distributed all the slips to a number of home gardeners as well as farms and educational institutions. Participating farms include TK Family Farm, Flying Cloud Farm, The Lord’s Acre, Epling Farm, Barefoot Farm, and Rayburn Farm. Educational institutions include Mill Spring Ag Center, Evergreen Charter School, Vance Elementary, and Francine Delaney New School for Children.
Over the season, our participating farmers and home growers had a range of experiences and yields due to differences in soil types, microclimates, deer and herbivore pressure, weather, curing processes, and other factors. We will be sharing more of this feedback as it is compiled!
If you grew the Nancy Hall variety this past season or anytime,
please take a moment to fill out this survey about your experiences and observations.
Even if you don’t remember all the details, we also welcome a partially completed survey.
Slow Food Asheville received a portion of the yield donated from many Nancy Hall growers, and yesterday we held a culminating event to celebrate the project and what we learned from it. Everyone who participated with the project in one way or another was invited to Franny’s Farm in Leicester for a somewhat intimate potluck style gathering to share experiences and inspiration. The donated yield was prepared in a variety of ways: soups, dry roasted whole, and sweet potato pies, allowing us to taste and savor the delicate sweetness of the Nancy Hall in a spread of flavor contexts.
Our Next Heritage Food Project
We would love for you to be involved!
From March 6, 2016 – March 19, 2016, Variety Voting is taking place right here on the internet!
Slow Food will feature a heritage bean variety to trial in the community, but we need your help selecting which bean to feature.
Read more about the candidates and vote for the bean that you would like to see for our 2016 Heritage Food Project.
Sign up to participate with us in growing the winning variety, offering your opinions and feedback, and celebrating with us at the end of the season!
Check out this post with all the details: 2016 Heritage Food Project