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Simply Delicious: world-class sweet potatoes grown in Ontario

Nearly 15 years ago, when many said it couldn’t be done, a farm in Simcoe, Ontario started growing Ontario sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes weren’t as popular then as they are now, and they typically grow in tropical climates.
Now that the demand is here, Berlo’s Best Sweet Potatoes is feeding it- harvesting over 20 million pounds annually.
Our Susan Hay and Rose Reisman took the vegetable from farm to fork in this week’s Simply Delicious.
Here’s the recipe they tried:
Sweet Potato Fries

 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb), unpeeled and scrubbed

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 tsp maple syrup

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

pinch of nutmeg

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray

2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 4 wedges. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Combine all the remaining ingredients except the parsley in a small bowl. Brush half the maple syrup mixture over the sweet potatoes.

4. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and brush with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Bake another 15 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Sweet potatoes are a “super food” and much healthier than white potatoes.  A medium sweet potato contains more than your daily Vitamin A requirement, a third of your vitamin C and 15% of your daily fibre.  They contain antioxidants to fight cancer and are considered a low glycemic food which controls blood sugar levels.

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Sweet potato season typically starts in mid-September.
From growing 28 to 800 acres, Berlo’s Best is a true Canadian Success story.
 “It wasn’t possible to grow sweet potatoes up here,” Nick VanBerlo, from Berlo’s Best said. “We weren’t going to take no for an answer and just kind of grabbed the bull by the horns and started running with it, growing with the market.”
They’ve faced many challenges, but they’ve adapted, even thrived.
“Well the climate was gonna be too difficult to grow the crop, we had to learn everything on our own, and the hard way. we’ve come up with some varieties that work here, using i guess trial and error,” he said.