“Seed Stories of Southern Appalachia” will be the next presentation in the Southern Appalachian Studies Series at 7 p.m., June 24, 2019, at the Blount County Public Library. Country Gentlemen, Baron Medley, Perkin’s Long Pod, Pink Eye Purple Hull Cow Peas, Sugar Baby, and Red Peanut Garden are some of the heirloom fruit and vegetable seeds you can check out at the Blount County Public Library. Each of these seeds, and many others, come with their own individual story. Someone took the time to preserve both the unique flavors and the Southern Appalachian culture associated with each. Blount County has been graced with one of these “someones”– John Coykendall—who is an expert on heirloom seeds of Southern Appalachia will share some of these stories.


Coykendall, Blackberry Farm’s Master Gardener, has been saving seeds from all over the world for 60 years. He has saved several heirloom seeds from extinction. As a seed saver, he not only preserves old varieties, he keeps them alive by using, selling, and introducing them at farmers’ markets. Food and Wine Magazine recently named him as one of 31 game changing craftspeople because of his seed saving. Being a trained artist has allowed him to keep detailed seed journals from his worldwide seed expeditions. This “memory banking” resulted in detailed accounts of the stories of the people who grew these seeds and how they used them in cooking. He is featured in the PBS documentary “Deeply Rooted” which is available at the Blount County Public Library. Blount County is lucky to have someone of John Coykendall’s artistry and background who is so willing to share his knowledge.


Open to the public, this program is hosted by the Blount County Public Library and will be in the Main Gallery, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville. For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0581 or visit the website at www.blounttn.org.