The guest for this episode is Chris Smith, author of the James Beard Award-winning book, The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration. Chris lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is the founder and executive director of The Utopia Seed Project.

It seems like a perfect time of year to talk about okra. And I have to say that okra is one of my favorite vegetables. I grew it back when I lived in Texas, and it is just a stunningly beautiful plant. It loves the heat. It’s drought tolerant. I loved serving it at dinner parties because people were always surprised it could be so good.


But, let’s face it. Okra is polarizing. There’s the slime, for one. At the grocery store, you find it in a can, which, no thank you.

But beyond all that, it turns out okra is a powerful vehicle for telling stories about genetic diversity, seed to stem eating and even the American slave trade. Chris weaves all that, and much more, into his book.

— Ben Trollinger

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