Though Slow Food Asheville’s original plans for Aunt Hettie’s Red went awry due to the pandemic, local farmers and chefs have still managed to experiment with the heritage okra variety.
The okra selected for the 2020 project, Aunt Hettie’s Red, boasts both regional roots and modern acclaim. Last September, the variety was crowned the best of 54 in “The Single Biggest Chef-Centered Okra Tasting Day Ever” contest staged by the Utopian Seed Project.
Recognizing the importance of crop diversity in a changing climate, local farmers are working to develop new crops for Western North Carolina.
Local restaurants plan for Father’s Day. Also: Asheville Bee Charmer celebrates its fifth anniversary, Chris Smith leads an okra workshop and more.
In The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration, the author defends a vegetable that’s long been maligned by millions.
Last summer, Smith took his love for okra to new heights through his work with the Utopian Seed Project, a organization that aims to create diverse and integrated food systems. He catalogued more than 75 varieties of the vegetable, which he hopes will promote resilience against pests, disease and climate change while providing greater food security.
Grigg Sheffield, owner of L.O.T.U.S Urban Farm and Garden Supply, opened his shop 6 years ago and says that the biggest trend he sees is that the consumer base is more educated, curious and knowledgeable. “There’s a big move towards understanding what’s in your food and how it’s grown,” he says.
Local scientists, farmers, food activists and professors discuss the pros and cons of GMOs.
Still searching for a more permanent home, Out of the Blue Peruvian Fusion Cuisine food truck has adopted regular shifts at Catawba Brewing Co., Mountain Area Health Education Center on Hendersonville Road and Green Man Brewery.