Wild Pawpaws, Gourmet Salt, Wild Ginseng, and a Biscuit Bake-off



In this episode, we’ll travel to Maryland to forage- and eat- wild Pawpaws

And we’ll learn about Anne Braden, one of the early advocates for social equality in Kentucky.

We’ll also hear about a new company in West Virginia that’s revived a historic salt-works -and why chefs are loving it.


Credit Clay Center

Musicians Explore Connections Between Romanian and Appalachian Folk Music:

A group of Romanian music students has been traveling around West Virginia this week. The four students and 3 of their teachers are learning traditional Appalachian music and teaching their own folk tunes to musicians here. Their visit kicks off a year-long project called Common Notes, which connects Romanian and West Virginia high school students. The Clay Center in Charleston is helping organize the project.

Radio Documentary about Anne Braden, a Southern Patriot: In Kentucky it is the 60th anniversary of an effort in Louisville to desegregate a neighborhood which led to a house bombing and the indictment of Anne and Carl Braden for sedition — that is, trying to overthrow the government of KY by stirring up trouble among the races according to the prosecutor at the time.

Mimi Pickering and Anne Lewis made a documentary about Anne Braden. Here’s an excerpt from that documentary, called Southern Patriot which is being shown next week in Louisville. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of this historic event, the Louisville Free Public Library is hosting an exhibit, called “Black Freedom, White Allies, and Red Scare.” The library will run the exhibit through Nov. 9 and will offer a number of related programs co-hosted by the University of Louisville’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research.

Ginseng Reality TV: Cultivating Conservation or Encouraging Extinction?


Credit National Geographic
National Geographic
Frame from National Geographic Channel’s new ginseng reality TV show: Smoky Mountain Money, which pits teams against each other to see who can collect the most ginseng.

A new reality TV show that features ginseng hunting premiered this week. Smokey Mountain Money pits four teams against each other to see who can collect the most wild-ginseng. It comes in the wake of another reality show that aired in January this year, Appalachian Outlaws. Dried ginseng root sells for 400-900 dollars a pound, and these reality shows are generating a lot of new interest in the plant. As Glynis Board reports—that might be a good thing for the ginseng industry… or it might not be.


Credit Heather Niday
Nola Todd, a 10 year old student at Shoals Elementary school in Charleston, WV., won first prize this year in the West Virginia Biscuit Bakeoff.

Biscuit Bake-off: Nola Todd is a 5th grader with impressive baking skills. She took home first place in the West Virginia biscuit bakeoff during the Autumn Harvest Festival in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. 

What’s in a Name: In Garrett County, MD, how did the town of Accident get its name? Was it named Accident because of the treacherous roads that cross over the mountains there, or because of a land surveyor’s mistake? Or was it named when an explorer got lost in the fog and lost his horse in a ravine? Listen to the podcast for the answer.

Blenko Glass Maker: Blenko Glass, in the small West Virginia town of Milton, has been in business since 1893. It used to be one of many glass-making companies in West Virginia. Now, there are only a few left.Reporter, Rachel Rohr, of NPR and WBUR’s Here & Now, recently talked with Randy Ryder, 52, a Milton native who’s been working there for 34 years. He says the business is having trouble attracting young people to learn the skill.

Rachel Rohr is on a cross-country reporting trip, called Alternate Routes.


Credit Cecelia Mason

Foraging the Wild Pawpaw Fruit: If you spend some time by a river in the Appalachian mountains, you may have noticed hikers eating something green. Many Appalachians know this mango-like fruit- Pawpaws.

NPR’s Allison Aubrey discovered back in 2011, more and more people outside of Appalachia are discovering this secret too. Click here to see a video of Allison’s search for Pawpaws.

Historic Salt Company is Alive Again in Malden: In 1851, salt from the Kanawha Valley was awarded the world’s best salt at the World’s Fair in London. Now, more than 160 years later, one of those old salt companies has been revived by brother and sister Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne. Last weekend, the JQ Dickenson Salt-works celebrated their 1-year-anniversary. Roxy Todd toured the salt-works and talked with Chef April Hamilton as she prepared food for the salt soiree.


Credit Lauren Stonestreet, of Elle Effect Photography