Looks like the secret ingredient in your Thanksgiving sweet potato dish might be perspiration. Harvesting those orange tubers is exhausting work. Dan Charles at NPR spoke to farmworkers in North Carolina:
“When you first get here, your waist, your hands, and your feet can’t take it,” [Nabor] Segundo says. “It’s really hard the first time, because you don’t know how to carry the bucket, how to lift it to your shoulders. It’s really hard to learn.”
Segundo says each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. He fills that bucket, and carries it to the truck, 400 to 500 times each day.
Half the country’s sweet potatoes are grown in North Carolina (I bet you can guess what the state vegetable is). Workers get paid about 50 cents for each 30-pound bucket, according to NPR — which adds up to $200 to $250 a day for hauling six to seven tons of sweet potatoes by hand.
So this Thanksgiving, remember the roots of those sweet potatoes and the farmworkers who helped get fruits and vegetables to your teeming dinner plate.
Hear the whole story here.