Origin: Louisa, Virginia
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~50
Germination tested 11/2021: 99%
Life cycle: Annual
We got our seed stock for these seeds from our great friend and grower Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers in Virginia. The "OP" in the name stands for "Open Pollinated", signifying that this is distinct from the formerly common hybrid varieties called 'Annie Oakley' and 'Annie Oakley II.' It is effectively a "new heirloom," with seeds that can be saved each year to produce plants that look and act the same the next year. Edmund set out to de-hybridize 'Annie Oakley II' in 2017 at the urging of a Louisiana farmer named Edward Lenoir who specializes in okra. He relied on 'Annie Oakley II' for years because it's so productive and uniform, but it was suddenly discontinued. Edmund did not notice any of the "segregation" (diversification) you would expect from growing out F2 seeds of an F1 hybrid, and nor did we (growing his F3 or 4 seeds).
This variety is characterized by very productive, compact plants with spineless, uniform and tender green pods. As is true with most okras, the pods need to be picked just before they reach their full size to avoid getting fibrous. We love eating the youngest pods raw, crisp and delicious right off the plant (that's truly one of the joys of growing okra yourself). But of course these pods are also great fried, stewed, sauteed, or even baked into okra chips!
GROWING TIPS: Start indoors a few weeks before last frost, or direct seed once soil has warmed up a bit. Space plants a foot apart at least. These plants will branch.