Cornbread Nation

Encompassing most of the Mississippi River watershed north of the delta, Cornbread Nation features a wonderful mingling of African and European food traditions along with remnants of indigenous traditions. The rich soils, wet climate, lush habitats, and place-based cultures of this region have generated an astonishing variety of heirloom vegetables and fruits, as well as heritage breeds. Its white corns are used for hominy, grits, spoonbreads, johnnycakes, and myriad other specialties. Pride in local and regional food traditions is rampant, producing seemingly endless variants of cornbread, barbecue, burgoo, and other stews. Nevertheless, rural out-migration has weakened many of Cornbread Nation’s celebrated rural traditions, so that at least seventy-five 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

* Brandywine Pink Tomato
* Buckeye Chickens
* Chickasaw, Miner Plum
* Choctaw Sweet Potato Squash
* Indian Blood Free Peach
* Ingram Apples
* Kellogg's Blackberry
* Limestone Bibb Lettuce
* Old Kentucky White Sweet Potato
* See Full List

Tips to preserve heritage and heirloom foods:

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

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

Disappearing Foods (Full List)
Alabama Coschatta Flint Corn
Alice Elliot Okra
Arkansas Red and White Dent Corn
August Sweet Apples
Baker Sweet Apples
Beasley's Red Dent Corn
Belmont Apples
Bourbon Red Turkeys
Brandywine Pink Tomato
Buckeye Chickens
Burlington Hecan Hickory
Cherokee Purple Tomato
Chickasaw, Miner Plum
Chickashaw Dry Bush Bean
Choctaw Sweet Potato Squash
Cow Pumpkin Squash/Pumpkin
Craggs Persimmon
Cynthiana/Norton Grape
Delight Persimmon
Early Golden Persimmon
Early Ohio Potato
Golden Yellow Celery & Celeriac
Grainger Shagbark Hickory
Greenriver Pecan
Hightop Sweet Apples
Honey Drip Sorghum
Huntsman Apples
Indian Blood Free Peach
Ingram Apples
John Allen Yellow German Tomato
Kellogg's Blackberry
Kentucky Field Cheese Squash
King of Mammoth (Mammoth) Pumpkin
Lady Finger Rainbow Popcorn
Limestone Bibb Lettuce
Lincoln Pear
Magoon Muscadine Grape
McCullar's White Topset Onion
Mennonite Red Sorghum
Miles Persimmon
Missouri Persimmon
Missouri Pippin Apples
Moon and Stars Watermelon
Mulefoot Pigs
Nancy Watermelon
Ogeechee Plum
Ohio Calico Dent Corn
Ohio/Mississippi River Shrimp
Ohop Nonpareil Apples
Old Kentucky White Sweet Potato
Old Time Tennessee Melon
Old-fashioned Tennessee Vining Squash
Oliver Apples
Ozark Razorback Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Pallid Sturgeon
Paydon Heirloom Acorn Squash
Pipher Persimmon
Purple (Pumpkin) Wam Sweet Potato
Quapaw Corn
Red Wine Velvet Sweet Potato
Rice Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Salts Red Sorghum
Senator Apples
Shui Men Jujube
Silver Fox Rabbit
Silver King Corn
Southern Giant Curled Mustard
Southern Queen Yam/White Triumph Sweet Potato
Speckled Hansen Lettuce
Star of David Okra
Sudduth Pear
Sue Pawpa
Sumpweed Sunflower
Sutton's Beauty Apples
Sweet Alice Pawpaw
Tatum Persimmon
Tennesee Cornfield Pole Bean
Tennesee Fainting Goats
Tennesee Spice Pepper
Tennessee Red Cob Dent Corn
Tennessee Teardrop Pepper
Thelma Sander's Sweet Potato Squash
Turley Winesap Apple
Wabash Persimmon
Wilcox Pecan
Wilcox Shagbark Hickory
Yates/Jewel Persimmon

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