Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Mystery of the (now famous) Sweet Potato

This image is now famous.

So far, the photo has been forwarded to agriculture departments at universities in Oregon and Washington.


Because NO ONE knows what happened to the potato.

It all started out with my sweet potato harvest. About 20 or so percent of the potatoes have this weird skin coloration and texture.

I emailed some ag experts. Nothing. No clue what it was.

I finally emailed my local agriculture extension service. Here, it's run by Oregon State University (even though they aren't in the city I'm in). They have no idea either, so they asked me to swing by their office with a sample.

I did just that this afternoon, and they were greatly intrigued. I ended up going back and getting another few samples.

SO here's what we know:

* The skin is what looks like carmel. Under a microscope, it looks glassy and crystal-like.
* The interior is normal and able to be eaten.
* The regular sweet potatoes also have strange things: the eyes have horizontal stripes. Usually, if there is a stripe, it's vertical, indicating fast growth.
* A woman who works at the extension service grew sweet potatoes last year and had a similar problem!
* NO ONE ELSE seems to have ever seen this before, despite that it hit two people in my city.

So, four rough sweet potatoes and one "regular" sweet potato are being sent away for another expert to look at.

Results soon to come....

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