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Okra, Alice Elliot

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Abelmoschus esculentus

Drought- and heat-tolerant heirloom okra with an incredible history. 

Okra has a long history connected to human migration originating in Africa, dating back as far as 2,000 BCE. According to culinary historian Michael Twitty, Okra traveled to North America with enslaved Africans who were inhumanely kidnapped and transported across the Atlantic Ocean. They were then forced to work on plantations that built the agricultural empire of the US. In the ensuing years, Okra became a central component of southern cuisine. This variety was carried from Missouri to Oklahoma in the "Run of 1889," where the forced removal of Native Americans "opened" the land to settlement by white people as a part of the Homestead Act. It was submitted into the Seed Savers Exchange by Oklahoma resident Alice Elliot in 1986, which is where our seed stock initially came from. It is a reliable producer and relatively drought and heat tolerant.

Okra is a great thickener in stews and soups, and is excellent breaded and fried. Pick pods when small for best flavor and texture. Plants are 3-4' tall. Open-pollinated.

Seeds grown by Earthly Delights Farm in Boise, Idaho, and Green Phoenix Farm in Salt Lake City, Utah.

30 seeds.

Directions: Start indoors 2-3 weeks before last frost and transplant after, or direct seed after last frost. Doesn't need staking. Prefers rich soil.

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