Mississippi’s Ark of Taste

The Ark of Taste is an online catalogue developed and maintained by the Slow Food Foundation.The Ark is growing day by day, gathering alerts from people who see the flavors of their childhood disappear, taking with them a piece of their culture and history. The Ark collects small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of our world, an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats.

The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, and invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers, and in others, such as the case of endangered wild species, it might mean eating less or none of them in order to preserve them.

Here are a selection of foods listed on the Ark that most Mississippians will find familiar and some surprising; I was particularly intrigued by the Piney Woods Cattle, the Cotton Patch Goose, the White African Sorghum and the White Velvet Okra. As a Calhoun County native, I’m of course including the two heirloom sweet potato varieties listed.

American Native Pecan
American Paddlefish
American Persimmon
Bradford Watermelon
Cotton Patch Goose
Hayman Sweet Potato
Louisiana Mirlitron
Mississippi Silver Hull Bean
Moon and Stars Watermelon
Nancy Hall Sweet Potato
New Orleans French Bread
Pawpaw
Piney Woods Cattle
Shagbark Hickory
Southern Field Peas
Traditional Sorghum Syrup
Tupelo Honey
Watermelon Pickles
White African Sorghum
White Velvet Okra
Wild Gulf Coast Shrimp
Yellow-Meated Watermelon