Chestnut Nation

Centered on the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the southern Appalachian plateau and the piedmont above the coastal plains of the Southeast, Chestnut Nation remains rich in small farmsteads and culinary celebrations. The American chestnut formerly domi­nated the wild food crops gleaned from the forests, but it was nearly driven into extinction by an introduced chestnut blight. Today, remnant and (perhaps) resistant chestnut trees are inspiring efforts at chestnut reintroduction and forest restoration.

This region is rich in heirloom fruit trees and vegetables, heritage livestock breeds, and small game. The tradi­tions of Cherokee wildcrafters and Scots-Irish woodspeople have shaped the subsistence traditions of this region. Its living heritage of fishing, farming, and foraging folklore is widely celebrated in story and song. However, the metro areas of Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia, at either end of this region have a ripple effect of second-home develop­ments that are now changing the predominantly rural character of Chestnut Nation. At least seventy-four of its traditional foods are now threatened or endangered.

– excerpted from Renewing America’s Food Traditions, edited by Gary Nabhan, with the permission of Chelsea Green Publishing (

Disappearing Foods

* Goliath Grouper
* Honey Cider Apples
* Jack's Copperclad Jerusalem Artichoke
* Eclipse Blackberry
* Mary Moore Greasy Bean
* Nansemond Sweet Potato
* Orange Oxheart Tomato
* Tennessee Beauty Strawberry
* See Full List

Tips to preserve heritage and heirloom foods:

* Become a seed saver through the Seed Saver Exchange (
* Purchase heirloom produce and heritage livestock breeds (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy,
* If you think a food is endangered, nominate it to the Slow Ark of Taste,
* Support community agriculture, farmers' markets and local food groups.
* Attend events that celebrate local foods.

Read more about Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT).

Disappearing Foods (Full List)
American Chestnut
Barnes Mountain Cornfield Bean
Bell Grape
Bertie Best Greasy Bean
Big John Bean
Black Pindor Peanut
Brushy Mountain Limbertwig Apples
Buckinham Buff/Cherokee Buff Apples
Bull Nose Bell Pepper
Burford Pear
Carolina Collards
Carolina Gourdseed Dent Corn
Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel
Cherokee Blue And White Dent Corn
Cherokee Cornfield Bean
Cherokee Greasy Bean
Cherokee White Eagle Dent Corn
Cherokee White Flour Corn
Choppee Okra
Crow Egg Apples
Doyce Chambers Greasy Cutshort Bean
Eclipse Blackberry
Edhegard Jujube
Edwards Cornfield Bean
Gano Apples
Georgia Rattlesnake (Garrison) Watermelon
Gilpin Apples
Goliath Grouper
Grady Bailly Greasy Bean
Hammond's Apples
Henry Clay Apples
Hewes Virginia Crab Apples
Hickory King Yellow Corn
Honey Cider Apples
Horse Apples
Jack Kelly Butter Bean
Jack's Copperclad Jerusalem Artichoke
John Haulk Yellow Dent Corn
Johns (Original York) Apples
June Sugar Pear
Kinnard's Choice Apples
Kreutzer Pea
Limbertwig Apples
Lowry Apples
Luther Hill Sweet Corn
Magnum Bonum Apples
Mango Pawpaw
Margaret Best Greasy Bean
Margaret Best Yellow Tomato
Mary Moore Greasy Bean
Mattamuskeet Apples
McAffee Apples
Milam Apples
Mississippi Silver Hull Pea
Morgantown Blackberry
Mostellers Wild Goose Bean
Mrs. Bryan Apples
Nansemond Sweet Potato
Nickajack Apples
Nickell Half-runner Bean
North Carolina Seedling Pomegranate
North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash
Orange Oxheart Tomato
Ora's Speckled Pole Bean
Park's Pippin Apples
Pearmain, Cannon Apples
Persimmon Tomato
Pilot Apples
Pineland Dewberry
Pink Tip Greasy Bean
Plantation Sweet Pomegranate
Pocono Plateau Dewberry
Power's Heirloom Tomato
Rainbow Apples
Robe Mountain Cornfield Bean
Seay Cutshort Bean
Shockley Apples
Stayman Apples
Striped Hull Greasy Cutshort Bean
Summer Banana Apples
Tait's White Dent Corn
Tanyard Seedling Apples
Tennesee Cornfield Pole Bean
Tennessee Beauty Strawberry
Tennessee Red Cob Dent Corn
Terry Winter Apples
Tobacco Worm Bean
Turkey Craw Cvornfield Bean
Vine Apples
Virginia Crab Apples
Virginia Gourdseed Dent Corn
Virginia Greening Apples
Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel
Virginia Winesap Apples
Walker's Pippin Apples
Wallace Sweet Apples
Washday Cowpeas/ Crowders/ Black-eyes
White Pumpkin Squash
Winter Sweet Paradise Apples
Winter Valencia & Maltz Melon
Yampa (Gairdner's Yampah) Potato
Zipper Cream Pea

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