Aljezur Sweet Potato production in the Algarve, Portugal By Andrew Ormerod Terra Madre (2006)

In our area there is a network of canals, we exploit rain water and canals our soil is very sandy.  We have cultivated sweet potatoes for the last 4-5 centuries.  We started to grow this sort because it is drought resistant and they can be cooked without seasoning.  We have great variety of dishes based around potatoes fish and meat.  The potatoes are used to make sweets pastries and bread.  The leaves are a by-product used to feed farm animals.

Sweet Potatoes are an important source of protein for our people.   Main variety grown is Lira with characteristic yellow pulp and red skin from the Portuguese region of Aljezur.  Amount produces is between 8-20 tonnes of sweet potatoes per hectare with a total production of 8000 tonnes.  It has a special flavour due to the unique climatic and soil conditions, it is sweeter and less fibrous than other varieties.

Our food community collaborates with an a local association of food producers.  The European Commission later granted an IGP seal (Indicação Geográfica Protegida), denoting a product from a protected geographical area to this sweet potato in 2009.

 

Festival da Batata-doce de Aljezur  Three days at the end of November beginning of  December each year.

The Sweet Potato Festival has taken place in Aljezur since 1998 and is the largest autumn food festival south of the Tagus River. The event is a joint initiative by the municipality of Aljezur and the Association of Aljezur Sweet Potato Producers designed to promote and preserve traditional flavours and gastronomic skills and presenting gourmet dishes associated with the Aljezur sweet potato in association with restaurants and bars in the area.   Speciality dishes include broa castelar, sweet potato cookie.  There are also stands promoting regional businesses, craftsmanship, workshops and local confectionary.

 

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About cornucopiaalchemy

Dr. Andrew Ormerod has 14 years experience working as the Economic Botanist at the Eden Project - researching topical stories, artefacts, ethnobotanical inks, catering and retail links to exhibits. Previously I was involved with plant breeding and plant tissue culture working on a range of crops including winter cauliflowers, agricultural lupins, vining peas, wheat and barley and coconuts. I am now freelance and am interested in opportunities for lecturing; writing articles; consultancy linked to development of botanic gardens for crops based exhibits; supply chain work for unusual food or non-food crops with interesting stories about plants and people attached to them.
This entry was posted in niche crops, Niche Product, root crops, Slow Food, Uncategorized, Value added Product. Bookmark the permalink.

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