Utah has its own sweet history. The Mormon pioneers first tried to make sugar from beets in the early 1850s, shipping machinery from Liverpool, England, and building a "Sugar House" in the south Salt Lake City area for processing.

But they couldn't solve the chemical problems of converting beets grown in alkali soil into granulated sugar, according to the Utah History Encyclopedia.

A renewed attempt was made in the 1880s. Horticulturist Arthur Stayner received a $5,000 bounty from the Utah Legislature for producing the first 7,000 pounds of marketable sugar in Utah.

The Lehi factory of the Utah Sugar Co. was the first successful beet sugar factory in the Mountain West, the first to use beets grown by irrigation, the first to have a systematic program for producing its own beet seed, the first to use American-made machinery, the first to use the "osmose process" of reprocessing molasses, and the first to build auxiliary cutting stations.

The sugar beet was named the historical state vegetable by the 2002 Utah Legislature.

— Valerie Phillips