Which vegetable is designated as the state vegetable of Minnesota?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Each state in the United States has its own unique symbols that represent their culture and heritage. These symbols can range from state flags to state birds, state flowers, state songs, and even a state vegetable. Minnesota, known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, has designated a state vegetable that represents their agricultural prowess and culinary traditions. In this article, we will explore the history, search, and selection process for the state vegetable of Minnesota.

Historical Significance

Minnesota has a rich agricultural heritage that dates back to the early 19th century. The state’s fertile soil and favorable climate have made it a prime location for farming, especially for vegetables. In fact, the state’s nickname, "Bread and Butter State," reflects its long history of producing wheat and butter, as well as other agricultural products.

The Search for a State Vegetable

In 2002, a group of fifth-graders from a school in southwestern Minnesota proposed the idea of designating a state vegetable. The students believed that a state vegetable would help promote Minnesota’s agriculture and culinary traditions. Their proposal sparked a statewide conversation, and legislators began to consider the idea seriously.

Criteria for Selection

Minnesota’s Legislature established criteria that a vegetable must meet to become the official state vegetable. The vegetable had to be native to Minnesota, widely cultivated, and representative of the state’s agricultural heritage. Additionally, it had to be visually appealing, versatile, and healthy.

The Finalists

Several vegetables were nominated for the state vegetable designation, including wild rice, sweet corn, rutabaga, and green beans. Each of these vegetables had unique qualities that made them ideal candidates. Sweet corn was a particularly strong contender, as Minnesota is one of the leading producers of sweet corn in the country. However, it was ultimately not chosen due to its association with the state of Iowa.

And the Winner is…

After much debate and consideration, the Minnesota Legislature declared the state vegetable to be the orange-fleshed sweet potato. The sweet potato met all of the criteria for selection and had a long history of cultivation in Minnesota.

Characteristics of the Winning Vegetable

Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable that are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They have a sweet and nutty flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as roasted, mashed, or baked.

Culinary Uses in Minnesota

Sweet potatoes are a staple in many traditional Minnesota recipes, such as sweet potato casserole, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato pie. They are also used in more contemporary dishes, such as sweet potato sushi rolls and sweet potato tacos.

Health Benefits of the State Vegetable

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable that provide many health benefits. They are high in fiber, which helps regulate digestion and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. They are also rich in vitamins A and C, which boost immunity and promote healthy skin and eyesight.

Economic Impact

Sweet potato production in Minnesota contributes to the state’s agricultural economy and provides jobs for farmers and workers. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, sweet potato production in the state has increased in recent years and is expected to continue to grow.

Symbolic Importance

The sweet potato represents Minnesota’s agricultural heritage and culinary traditions. It is a versatile and healthy vegetable that is widely cultivated in the state. The designation of a state vegetable also helps promote the state’s agricultural industry and increase awareness of the importance of eating healthy and locally grown food.


The designation of a state vegetable is a unique and meaningful way for a state to celebrate its cultural and agricultural heritage. The sweet potato is the perfect choice for Minnesota, as it represents the state’s agricultural prowess and culinary traditions. Whether enjoyed in traditional recipes or innovative dishes, the sweet potato will always be a beloved and cherished part of Minnesota’s culinary identity.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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