Sweet potatoes are harvested from August and regular white potatoes from June, but, ironically, their consumption tends to fall as the mercury rises.
Lotte Mart reported that last year 40 percent of the sweet potatoes it sold were snapped up in the winter months from January to March. Over the same period, the discount chain also sold 32.9 percent of its white potatoes.
As sales have dipped recently due to the unusually early spike in temperature, prices are also falling. At the Seoul Agro-Fisheries and Food Corporation, 10 kg of first-grade sweet potatoes were being auctioned for W21,892 (US$1=W1,155) on June 10, down 48.3 percent from W42,330 last year. Meanwhile, 20 kg of first-grade white potatoes plunged 57.4 percent to W14,633.
"The prices are expected to fall even lower as the summer gets into full swing," said a Lotte Mart staffer.