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:

This contest period is closed. 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!!)

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