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What’s new at Frieda’s? (Hint: It’s purple, of course)

Most people familiar with my company, Frieda’s, know that our signature color is PURPLE. We “chose” this color 50 years ago, when my mom, Frieda, was getting ready to open her business on the Los Angeles Produce Market. Frieda hired a painter to paint her business sign, and it turned out that the only color he had available was a pale lavender. So our first company sign was purple, and it stuck! (Too bad we didn’t have the foresight to trademark the color.)

We have always been intrigued when a grower presents a new “purple” fruit or vegetable to us, such as Purple Wax Beans, Purple Asparagus, and Purple Bell Peppers.

But nothing has gotten our attention like our most recent introduction, the Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato.

Actually, there is quite a history to this unique sweet potato. It was first grown and cultivated in Stokes County, North Carolina, by Saura Pride Sweet Potatoes.

After they trademarked the name and seed as Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato, Saura Pride was contacted by a grower in California – A.V. Thomas Produce – who supplies some of the best sweet potatoes to supermarkets and restaurant distributors all over the country. Like Frieda’s, A.V. Thomas is also a family-owned company, and the two of us have joined forces to grow and market this most unusual purple vegetable.

Here is a photo of the potato raw. The dark purplish skin on the outside doesn’t even hint at the fabulous and eye catching intense purple flesh when it is cooked.

Stokes Purple® – raw

The color is amazing – don’t you think?

Stokes Purple® – cooked

Well, the first major crop of this Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato was just harvested less than a month ago and we have started shipping it all over the country. As a matter of fact, this past weekend, in Anaheim, we displayed and sampled it at our industry’s largest trade show.

Here is the easy-to-make recipe we sampled at the show.

What’s especially great about these Purple Sweet Potatoes is that they stay firm when cooked. They don’t get mushy like regular sweet potatoes, so they’re perfect for salads or homestyle fries. Through our extensive tasting and testing, we also found that they must be baked (not microwaved) longer than regular sweet potatoes.

Actually, one of my longtime chef friends, Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle in Newport Beach, says that his favorite way to cook then is to wrap them in plastic and then foil and roast them for 1½ to 2 hours. Then he refrigerates them overnight before using in recipes. This keeps them super-moist yet firm. Don’t be put off by how long they take to bake – these potatoes are SO TASTY and MOIST, you will go crazy for them!

We are just starting to get orders from all over the country – actually the phone has been ringing off the hook. If you would like to try the Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato, talk to the produce manager at your favorite supermarket and ask them to contact us to order them for your store. (If your produce manager can’t comply, we also have them for sale on, but understandably, they are significantly more expensive this way.)

As I am getting ready to plan my menu for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, I am already trying to figure out which Purple Sweet Potato recipe I am going to make. I think my family will love the flavor and texture.


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