Okra, a gumbo staple, is wonderful pickled and has a flavor that works well when stewed with other summer favorites like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. The recognizable pod-shaped, okra fruit is harvested while the plant is still immature. And when cut, the fruit releases a sticky juice due to the mucilage in the plant. But this sliminess can be avoided by leaving the pod intact, slicing it thinly, or cooking it for a long time.

Okra is cultivated in warm, tropical climates and most likely originated in West Africa. It is one of the most heat and drought tolerant plants in the world and can continue to thrive in poor, dry soil. It is popular in Middle Eastern, African, and Japanese cuisine and is found in many traditional dishes along the Gulf Coast and southern parts of the United States.

While the pod is the most traditionally utilized part of the plant, the leaves can also be cooked like beet and dandelion greens. The seeds can be ground and used as a caffeine-free substitute for coffee and can also be pressed to create a flavorful, oil extract.

In Season

June, July, August, September, October, November

Available From

Recipes with Okra

Roasted Okra with Sweet & Tangy Red Pepper Relish

Hollie Greene, JoyFoodly

Stewed Okra, Corn and Tomatoes

Sharon L. Anderson, Purple Plum Restaurant

Articles about Okra

August 15, 2014

10 Ways Farmers Are Saving Water

As California faces a historic drought, sustainability-minded farmers are using an arsenal of methods to conserve water.

August 08, 2014

Breeding a Better Chicken at Eatwell Farm

Eatwell Farm embarks on breeding their own heritage flock.

August 04, 2014

National Farmers Market Week

National Farmers Market Week is August 3-9! Celebrate by pledging your support for local farms and communities.

August 01, 2014

Rabbits, Pigs, and Herbs in Marin County

Take a behind-the-scenes look at Devil’s Gulch Ranch and Allstar Organics in Nicasio.

July 31, 2014

Volunteers of the Month: Summer Interns

CUESA says farewell and thanks to our summer interns, Sarah, Henry, and Janelle.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »