The Bradford Family okra has been grown and passed down in Sumter, SC for almost as long as their famous watermelon. In the mid 1900’s Theron Bradford built an okra thresher to harvest the seed from his crop and supplied all the local feed and seeds in Sumter and surrounding counties. It was unique in that the tip of the okra would still snap clean at even 6-8 inches in length, meaning that it was a very large tender pod. Nat Bradford, Theron's grandson, is now the breedline manager for his family's heirloom okra. Over the summer of 2017 Nat introduced this okra to SC chefs who have placed it in high demand. Chef Forrest Parker, impressed with its size and tenderness, commented "Wow! This okra is large enough to stuff! This changes everything we know about okra." Chef Kristian Niemi commented that he had never tasted such a sweet okra. And Chef Sean Brock referred to the pearl-like seeds as he pressed them from a large pod that "this is okra caviar!"Now, after close to three quarters of a century, the Bradford family is making this fabulous, rare okra available again!
Heirloom grown by the Kibler and Kinard families of Prosperity, SC for many generations. Jim Kibler says: "None of us ever grew any other okra because my father, grandmother, and aunt always considered it the best for a number of reasons. It germinated easily if soaked in water overnight and was not planted too early. It required no fertilizer and once established was not affected by drought. The pods were straight, neat, and stayed tender even when 8 or more inches long. They could be picked with little irritation to the skin. The flavor, to our taste, could not be equaled."