Gumbo Nation

Nowhere else in North America do food, story, and song sublimely intertwine as they do in Gumbo Nation, the Gulf South region that stretches from east Texas past the Mississippi delta country and clear around to the Florida Keys. Fish, shellfish, turtles, and fowl have found a paradise here, although that paradise has recently been ravaged by the drilling of oil wells, the trawling of ocean bottoms, and the devastating floods following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Over eighty traditional foods are now threatened or endangered in Gumbo Nation.
Nevertheless, the indigenous, Cajun, Creole, and Cracker cultures of Gumbo Nation have always manifested great resilience, as their “White Boot Brigade” of shrimpers has recently demonstrated. They continue to forage for the sassa­fras leaves needed for gumbo filé, to grow the okras needed for other gumbos, and to fish for crabs, shrimp, groupers, gators, and redfish. Their cuisines blend Native American, African, Caribbean, French, and Spanish influences in astonishing ways that have made them world famous.

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

Disappearing Foods

* Creole Butternut Squash
* Daybreak Strawberry
* Duncan Grapefruit
* Florida Cracker Cattle
* Georgia Green Collards
* Louisiana Arledge Hot Pepper
* Paydon Heirloom Acorn Squash
* Pre-Civil War Peanut
* Royal Palm Turkeys
* Wilson Popenoe Avocado
* 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)
Abbeville Jujube
Alabama Shad
Alabama Sturgeon
American Alligator
American Crocodile
Benoist Blunt Okra
Big Frosty Bean
Blue Goose (Gray) Crowder
Brown Crowder
Calico Crowder
Cauley Apples
Centennial Pecan
Choctaw Sweet Potato Squash
Clay Cowpea
Clay Field Pea
Cotton Patch Geese
Creole Butternut Squash
Cubalaya Chickens
Datil Pepper
Daybreak Strawberry
Dr. Greenleaf's Tabasco Pepper
Duncan Grapefruit
Fitzgerald Jujube
Flatwoods Plum
Florida Collard
Florida Cracker Cattle
Galveston Bay Oyster
Georgia Blue Stem Collards
Georgia Green Collards
Georgia Long Standing Collards
Georgia Roaster Squash
Golden Boy Pear
Green Sea Turtle
Guinea Pigs
Gulf Coast Sheep
Gulf Sturgeon
Gulfcoast Highbush Blueberry
Hackworth Apples
Hamlin Orange
Hasting's Prolific Corn
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Headliner Strawberry
Honey Drip Sorghum
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Key Deer
Key Lime, West Indies Lime
Klondike Strawberry
Liberty Grape
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Louisiana Arledge Hot Pepper
Louisiana Black Bear
Louisiana Green Velvet Mustard
Louisiana Mirliton Chayote/Vegetable Pear
Louisiana Pecher Peach
Louisiana Red Okra
Louisiana Shallot Onion
Louisiana White Peach
Magdeburg (Louisiana) Coffee Chicory
Marsh Seedless Grapefruit
Mississippi Brown Crowder
North Carolina Seedling Pomegranate
Ohio/Mississippi River Shrimp
Okeechobee Gourd Squash
Orange Top Sorghum
Pallid Sturgeon
Paydon Heirloom Acorn Squash
Pigott Family Heirloom Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Pineywoods Cattle
Pink Eye Purple Hull Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Ponderosa Lemon
Pre-Civil War Peanut
Queen (Atlantic) Conch
Red Snapper
Red Wattle Pigs
Redfish/Red Drum Redfish
Rooster Spur Pepper
Rouge Et Noir Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Royal Palm Turkeys
Running Conch Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Sassafras Leaves for Handmade Gumbo Filé
Scrub Plum
Seminole Squash
Sherwood Jujube
Short Yellow Tabasco Pepper
Southern Delight Sweet Potato
Southern Queen Yam/White Triumph Sweet Potato
St. Croix Sheep
Suzanne Cream Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
T.O. Warren's Opaca Hawthorn
Tabasco Pepper
Tangi Strawberry
Tennessee Sweet Potato Cushaw Squash
Texas Long Sweet Sorghum
Texas Star Banana
Warsaw Groupe
Western Mayhaw Hawthorn
Whippoorwill Cowpeas (Crowders/ Black-eyes)
Wilson Popenoe Avocado

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