My family and I went to visit some friends down near Murphysboro, TN a few weeks ago. While there we searched for some seed for our garden, after looking several places, we visited Pearcy’s General Store in the little town of Lascasses. The small building packed with the gardening and home repair supplies that the rural community needed carried the purple hulls and October beans that we wanted. Stored in large wooden bins with glass fronts, the array of bean and corn seeds show both the local preferences of food traditions in Middle Tennessee.
You might be wondering what do hardware stores and seeds have to do with artisan ancestors. Food traditions are perhaps the most persistent of cultural expressions. In a very real way, heritage tomatoes or watermelons were the product of generations of artistic selection and breeding, long before agro-science became a multi-billion dollar industry.
This month, I will plant my mother goose beans, which my great-uncle Jim Ramsay passed on to me several years ago. This wonderful pole bean has a meaty and robust flavor, which makes it a satisfying meal all unto itself.( In a future post, I will tell you about this family bean and the story my grandfather told me about where it came from.)
I would love to hear from readers about their favorite heritage seeds and local gardening practices, no matter where you live in the world. Whether you live in Texas or Turkey, share your favorite growing traditions with the Artisan Ancestors audience. Email me the name of the seed, what it is like and the story of where it comes from. Also, send me a photograph of the seed, plant or dish, if you can. I will post the best of the