'Never Again' Okra
'Never Again' Okra

'Never Again' Okra

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Abelmoschus esculentus

Origin: Africa, via Germany, via Georgia (US)

Improvement status: Cultivar

Seeds per packet: ~40

Germination tested 11/2023: 80%

Life cycle: Annual

This okra came to us with a very different name, but we couldn't in good conscience spread it around with such a terrible name. As the story goes, a group of American GIs from the state of Georgia were making their way through Europe in the waning days of World War II. They encountered greenhouses said to belong the Adolf Hitler, one of the most notoriously evil people in history. In one of the greenhouses they recognized some okra plants loaded with pods in various stages of development. They took a bunch of green pods and supposedly made okra stew in their metal combat helmets over an open fire that day. They also took seeds from some of the ripe pods, and their descendents continue to grow this okra to this day. Truly a war trophy that keeps on giving.

After receiving a small sample of these seeds from okra guru Chris Smith of the Utopian Seed Project, EFN co-founder Nate Kleinman (a Jew whose family lost members in the Holocaust) couldn't bring himself to send them on to another grower, so he grew them himself at the EFN flagship farm in Elmer, New Jersey. Though Chris reported that this variety performed poorly in taste tests compared to dozens of other okras, Nate found it to be perfectly good enough to eat, raw or cooked. But he only had a few other varieties present for comparison. The plants are compact and productive, and the pods are pale green and rather bulky.

We realize this story seems rather far-fetched, but considering it has been decades since the seeds made their way across the ocean, and in all that time no one in the Georgia community in which this okra circulated ever sought to profit off of the story, we are inclined to believe it. It's known that Hitler was interested in plants and did have greenhouses, though we haven't found any documentary evidence to prove that he grew okra. Given even the whiff of association with such a horrible person who committed such ghastly crimes, we decided 'Never Again' was the most appropriate name for this okra, so that's what we will call it from now on.