468: Chris Smith on Okra.

Fascination with an underappreciated vegetable.

In This Podcast:

His first introduction to okra did not go over well, but years later Chris Smith was given okra seeds as a gift and he felt responsible to do his best with them.  This prompted him to research, learn, and experiment with many varieties and recipes. He learned a lot and he shares part of his journey becoming fascinated with this often discounted vegetable. Check out the recipe for pickled okra he shared with us as well.

Our Guest:

Chris is a garden writer and homesteading consultant who serves on the board of The People’s Seed. When he is not okra-ing he can sometimes be found at Sow True Seed, an Asheville-based open-pollinated seed company. The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration by Chelsea Green Publishing, has just been released and is available!


Listen in and learn about:

  • How he got introduced to okra
  • Given okra seeds and feeling the responsibility to do well by them
  • The difference between a good dish and a bad dish
  • The okra plant is useful from seed to stem
  • The Rosemond Wedding okra that he grows
  • Seventy-six varieties that he grew on his farm in a study
  • The highly productive plant and why timeliness of the harvest is important
  • How to start appreciating the full potential of the entire plant
  • What to do with the seeds
  • Making artisanal oils from the okra seeds
  • How to grow from seed
  • The resilience nature of okra plants
  • The okra itch he experienced from the okra spines
  • The three main pod characteristics
  • Dealing with the slime, and how some cultures like the slime
  • Working at Sow True Seed, an open pollinated seed company
  • A new organization called The People Seed
  • Utopian Seed Project a non-profit seed company that grew from his okra experiments

As well as:

  • His failure – trying to canoe 127 miles in one go, within 48 hours
  • His success – four major projects in one year and is still sane and married
  • His drive – working towards sustainable food systems that is resilient and regenerative
  • His advice – approach your own food system by being open minded, creative, and curious

Recipe submitted by Chris:

Pickled Okra

Books written by Chris:

The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration 

Chris’s Book recommendations:

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Edited by Paul Hawken

How to reach Chris:

Websites: SowTrueSeed.com or TheUtopianSeedProject.org or BlueAndYellowMakes.com

Instagram: @BlueandYellowMakes

Special Offer:

We are collecting responses and will advise all winners when we have received 50 responses or within the next 45 days which ever comes first. We say “Thank You” to Chris and Chelsea Green Publishing for this offer.


Special thanks to our sponsor:Gemplers Logogemplers.com/urbanfarm
(use code URBANFARM01 to save!!)

To learn more about Growing Your Own Food

visit IWantToGarden.com

Don’t miss an episode!
Click here to sign up for podcast updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment