at Weeksville Hertiage Center Harvest Fest 2019
My mom and I have been talking and her vegetable garden recently, in between conversations I went to Weeksville Heritage Center 2019 #harvestfestival where a number of dope things were happening but one thing the sort of struck me deep was Lex of the Weeksvile #SEEDEXCHANGE project. They were at a table with different herbs and veggies giving out seeds of our choosing to take home and start our very own garden. The one that spoke to me was the dried Hill Country Red Okra (pictured above) harvested in Pennsylvania.
Hill Country Red Okra Illustration by Jessie Doyle
Now I live in NYC with no backyard and the front yard is concrete so not much gardening can happen there but I thought about my mom and how much she LOVES okra (not my thing but hey 🤷🏾♀️) Of all the things she and her friends grow in their gardens not once did I hear okra. Tomatoes , potatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots & every leafy green you could imagine eating during the holidays but never okra.
Okra also known as “Gumbo” or “Lady‘s Fingers“ is a vegetable that was brought to the Americas by way of the Middle Passage during the transatlantic slave trade and is popular in southern United States, Africa, the Middle East and other cultures of the African diaspora. It adds much value to any dish it is included in like Gumbo (which is one way I like it) as well as on its own. Medicinally, it contains fiber, folate, and vitamin A, C, K and B6 this translates that its content can promote heart health, strong bones, soothe the digest tract and protect against some forms of cancer. Studies have also shown it may decrease sugar absorption in the digestive tract lowering blood sugar level which is ideal for people with or at risk of diabetes. Apart from the medicinal value spiritually okra is believed to have great protection powers removing negative energies, evils spirits or on helping you survive a difficult situation.
Needless to say I will be gifting my mother with these ancestral gifts during our “Thanksgiving” visit (how apt!) I can’t wait to see how beautiful they will be at harvest and looking forward to frying up some okras!
Check out my Pinterest to see great recipes for okra and more wellness goodness and info.
Images by Truelove Seeds at Mill Hollow Farm in Newtown Square, PA