One of the many Abelmoschus varieties we're growing this year is a variety of West African Okra (Abelmoschus caillei) that Jon Jackson of @comfortfarms has been stewarding after receiving seeds from his mother's homeland of Liberia. This variety is very special to him and he's called it Motherland Okra. I'm very honored to be growing it.
So far it's one if the healthiest looking cultivars in the field and when @lionpawlivity visited yesterday, she gravitated towards Motherland Okra with no influence from me and sat down next to the plants. I tried to explain that this wasn't really okra even though it looks like okra and she said, 'You can't tell me this isn't okra, who's to say what is and isn't okra.'
It was an eye opening moment that made okra even more expansive for me. Any of five squash species are collectively called squash, kale is split across two or three species. Well, guess what? Okra now claims at least two species in my mind and one of them is a kick ass hexaploid endemic to West Africa!
#westafricanokra #okra #abelmoschuscaillei #tuspokra #seedsaving #seeds #farming ...
Abelmoschus manihot flowers are beautiful ❤️ we're growing a few different Abelmoschus manihot varieties this year and none of them are flowering yet, but this Korean Silk Flower is a variety that we've been growing for many years and is a reliable heavy producer. The flowers can be dried for tea and the leaves are edible and the plants are stunning!
Abelmoschus manihot has a number of subspecies, including Abelmoschus manihot subspecies tetraphyllus var. tetraphyllus (aka. A. tetraphyllus). We're growing two of these assessions from the USDA with an oil seed content of 23%, which is the highest we know of in any Abelmoschus species. They also produce pink flowers which can be harvested easily after pollination, so I'm considering the triple crop potential of A. tetraphyllus, with a leaf harvest, a dried flower harvest and an oil seed harvest.
Photo Credit @foodordeath_ (note: while these flowers look bigger than my head they are actually about 6 in across, there's some camera trickery going on!)
#Okra #Abelmoschusmanihot #seedoil #experimentalfarm #tuspokra ...
Chef TT (@chefttlivinandlovin) came out to our Puerto Rico Evergreen okra grow out at Two Sided Farm in Mars Hill. She tasted an okra pod of every single plant and left a pink landscaping flag next to the varieties that really stood out to her. It was very exciting to hear her talk about the flavor differences between the different plants - everything from sweet pea like to spicy to citrusy sour to nutty, there was only one plant with really off flavors but all of the others were producing tasty pods so I'm excited to save seeds from this planting and share widely next year.
If you're a chef in the Asheville area and you have an hour or two to spare and you want to come and taste the row of okra - about 100 plants - then I'd love to get more input so we can make the best seed saving selections for flavor possible! Get in touch!
#Okra #seedselection #tuspokra #culinaryevaluation #farm #farming ...
Look at the difference between A. caillei (West African Okra) and A. esculentus (Common Okra) in the late season. A. caillei is still fully green leaved and flowering, but most A. esculentus are long done!
#Okra #westafricanokra #tuspokra ...
I've gone a bit crazy making okra petiole straws, they're the perfect byproduct from harvesting and using the leaves, which are the byproduct from growing okra for the pods! Use the whole plant 💚
#thewholeokra #okra #tuspokra #seedtostem ...
The @sowtrueseed sponsored Whidby White Okra Community Seed Selection Project kits are ready for distributing.
It's not too late to sign up via the link in our bio, but please make sure you write TUSP-INSTAGRAM in the notes section of the sign up form so I know to give our IG family priority!!
1. Packet of seeds
2. Color spectrum card
3. Flower isolation bag
#tuspokra #whidbywhite #okra #communitysupported # ...
Very grateful to @leeza.chen for spending a couple of days helping out. On Tuesday we planted the last of our garlic and shallots. Today we used Mark Dempsey's (of @carolinafarms) obliterator to process about 35 lbs of okra. The Obliterator is just what I call it, it's really a threshing, winnowing and screening machine. (Thanks also to Leicester neighbor Sal, who only turned up to say hello and then ended up spending half a day cleaning okra seeds!).
This is a mix of about 80 different okra varieties that have been allowed to freely cross. I've been calling it an ultracross (inspired by @melbelle206) but have recently learned the technical term is composite cross. I'm hoping the mix can be used by anyone wanting to explore okra's vast diversity, especially for local adaptation in cooler climates.
@experimentalfarmnetwork will be selling this mix in packets for growing next year.
#Okra #seedsaving #winnowing #threshing #seedcleaning #seed #ultracross #tuspokra ...
Here's a selection of edible summer greens growing at the #experimentalfarm right now. Even though you may never have tried (or maybe heard) of some of these, they are not new. We did not discover them. They belong to cultures older and wiser, ancestral work done to create many of the food crops that exist today, both known and forgotten.
We support eating and exploring these crops, and there is resilience in a diversified food system that will be much needed as climate change continues. But climate justice and climate work goes hand in hand with social justice and social work, so respecting those who came before (the work, the culture, the traditons, the people) is critical to our journey.
This picture shows a world of possibilities, but it also shows the world.
Top Row, Left to Right
1. Permelon (Cucurbita maxima)
2. Butternut (Cucurbita moschata)
3-4. Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
5 (top). Southern Pea (Vigna unguiculata)
5 (bottom). African Basil (Ocimum gratissimum)
6. Moringa (Moringa oleifera)
Bottom Row, Left to Right
1. Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius)
2. Sunset Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot)
3-4. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
5. Abelmoschus tetraphyllus
6 (top). Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
6 (bottom). Chayote (Sechium edule)
#summergreens #diversefood #chayote #chaya #taro #moringa #hibiscus #okra #southernpeas #basil #squash #sweetpotato #eatyourgreens #leafygreens #greens #notallgreensarered ...
I've been on a bit of a crazy okra journey recently, which has resulted in these seeds. You can learn more about the @sowtrueseed sponsored Whidby White Okra Community Seed Selection project via the link in our bio, but here's part of the story:
Whidley White Becomes Whidby White....
In the late 1980s Seed Savers Exchange received seeds from a Mrs. H.L. Jarrard of Oakwood, GA with very little information beyond the variety being in one family since the mid-1800s and it was called Whidley White. Chris Smith recently took up the cold case of trying to track down the family and some intense Googling led to him connecting with Joey Duran and his wife Tammy Duran. Joey is Mrs. H.L. Jarrard’s nephew and lives in the house where she grew up. Joey was able to fill in a lot of the family background, including the revelation that Whidley is highly likely the wrong name for this okra.
Mrs. H.L. Jarrard’s name was Vera Jarrard, married to Harvey Lou Jarrard. Vera Jarrard died in 2002. Vera’s brother (Joey Duran’s father) was Walter R. Duran (born 1931, married to Winnie Duran). Walter died in 1999 and his obituary notes, “Walter enjoyed working on his farm, growing a garden, riding on his tractor, wood working as well as tinkering with old trucks and clocks.” Walter’s mother, Ethel Whidby Duran, was born in 1892 married Jack C. Duran. Ethel’s father was Joseph W. Whidby (born 1856) and is the possible originator of this family heirloom (or perhaps his father….). So, this variety should almost certainly be called Whidby White and not Whidley White (we assume it was a typo, mis-hearing, or mis-reading of the original name).
We still don’t have a physical description of the okra, neither Joey nor Vera’s daughter (Melinda) have memories of a specific okra grown by their respective father/mother. However Walter Duran was a big time gardener and seed saver and Joey still had access to a freezer full of seeds that his father kept. This picture shows the okra Joey found. We are going to grow out some of those okra seeds and compare to our ‘Whidley/Whidby’ White. The anticipation is going to kill me!
#okra #tuspokra #whidbywhite #whidleywhite #seedsaving #seedkeeping #heirloom ...
This is Whidley White, the early 1800s okra I'm working to restore for @seed_savers_exchange
It's been a fun project, although it's taking longer than either of us expected.
This is my third year selecting and I have almost completely eradicated any red tinges in the leaf veins and largely in the petioles.
The pods are mainly pale, with some nearing a true white/cream. One study I read (LSU) suggested white is clearly dominant over green. In not experiencing that.
This year I have a large enough population to self pollinate the on-type pods, which should give me a leap forward in uniformity for next year...
There is a two tone look that is hard to appreciate in this picture, but many pale pods have darker green lines running along the ridge tops!
Big thanks to Michael Fortune for planting the okra at his farm in Marshall and allowing me to up my population size in a big way!
#seedsavers #seedsaving #okra #whildleywhite #heirloom ...