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'Iraqi Bamia' Okra
'Iraqi Bamia' Okra
'Iraqi Bamia' Okra
'Iraqi Bamia' Okra
'Iraqi Bamia' Okra
'Iraqi Bamia' Okra

'Iraqi Bamia' Okra

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Abelmoschus esculentus

Origin: Iraq

Improvement status: Landrace

Seeds per packet: ~35

Germination tested 12/2023: 96%

Life cycle: Annual

'Iraqi Bamia' (which simply means okra) is a unusual okra compared to most popular forms around the world. The plants in this landrace variety will mostly produce pale-green relatively squat pods on medium-sized plants with relatively low branching, if any. Much of the diversity is seen in different leaf shapes, though the pods are mostly pretty similar. A few plants may produce darker green pods, but we did not collect seeds from the darkest couple plants in our 2023 growout to best maintain the typical character of 'Iraqi Bamia'. We're told it is most often made into a stew, especially with lamb, but it's great for pickling as well, and very tasty straight off the plant (though some are a bit "spiny").

For over two years now, EFN co-founder Nate Kleinman has been a member of a beautiful group of mostly Iraqi-American seed savers called the Iraqi Seed Collective. Begun in 2021, the collective is working to preserve crops from Iraq and nearby countries. We previously offered their 'Iraqi Reehan' basil seeds, and this year we're adding their 'Iraqi Bamia' okra to the catalogue (along with the 'Baghdad Market 1948' eggplant we got from the USDA on the collective's behalf). Nate grew these seeds at the EFN flagship farm in Elmer, New Jersey. 50% of the proceeds of their sale will be offered to the Iraqi Seed Collective to help further their great work.

Nate was quite touched after first sharing photos of the ripening pods on the Iraqi Seed Collective group-chat when multiple people expressed how emotional it made them to see this plant growing here and to know that they'll be able to grow it soon themselves. This winter we're sending samples to every member of the collective who expressed an interest in growing it. And the group is excited that we're offering seeds here to make them available to Iraqi people living in diaspora in the US and elsewhere.

GROWING TIPS: Direct-sow after all danger of frost has passed, or start in pots a couple weeks before last frost. Space plants a foot apart at least. Harvest pods as soon as they reach a few inches in length, for they can get woody and tough rather quickly.