Slow Food Ark of Taste application deadline approaching

Bear Braumoeller's picture

Greetings all,

This is just a quick note to let you know that the August 3 deadline for the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste program is approaching.  Slow Food's Ark of Taste program has been growing in the U.S., but we'd like to see more representation in the midwest in particular.  The Ark of Taste is, essentially, an endangered species program for food; Ark products are raised sustainably, delicious, at risk, culturally or historically linked to a specific region, and produced in limited quantities.

Ark products are listed on the Slow Food USA website and on LocalHarvest, where producers are listed as well; in addition, Ark producers are eligible for grants like the Betsy Lydon award.  We'd like to be able to make more of our local producers eligible for such benefits. The one-page application is available at the Ark website.  We would appreciate it if you would consider helping us to raise awareness of this program by forwarding this message to producers of foods you think would be eligible for Ark status or, if you are a producer, sending in an application yourself. We're happy to fill out part of it or offer our thoughts, but our thinking is that producers know more of the details that would make an application likely to be accepted.

Thanks for your time and consideration!

Bear Braumoeller
Chapter co-leader
Slow Food Columbus

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Nice opportunity, getting the word out

Casey Hoy's picture

Thanks for the post, Bear, this looks like a good opportunity to tell the story of unique food and farms.  This posting will reach quite a few people who can forward it on.  We'd be glad to send it out through the Agroecosystems Management Program email list(s).  Casey

Bear- I encourage you also to

AppStaple's picture


I encourage you also to post on Like this site, you will have to join to post, but here in SE Ohio there are many innovators/food producers/farmers who might want to know more about what you are doing.

BTW- I was looking at the regional lists of foods and think many that are listed for the SE are right for Ohio, at least the Appalachian region. Farmers here are producing Sorghum Mollasses, and there are many Shagbark Hickory, American Persimmon.  I know a farmer who grows Butternuts, and Paw Paw recently was named the native fruit of Ohio. There are more I am sure, and when time permits, I will look into traditions of potatoes, grains, beans and the like that were grown in Appalachia before the great move to industrial farming and food.




Bear Braumoeller's picture

Hi Michelle and Casey,

Thanks for your responses!  My colleague Bethia Woolf just posted the same notice on, so with any luck we'll be getting the word out there too.  I didn't want to post to the general list here because I wasn't sure what the norms are and it seemed like there are a LOT of people on that list, but this one seemed like the right place.

Pawpaws are an Ark of Taste product, and a success story in many ways.  Neal Peterson received a Betsy Lydon award from Slow Food a while back.  We'd love to see more of that; the efforts of people like Neal, Chris Chmiel, and others to promote them should be recognized.  We featured them at our farm to table dinner last fall, and very few people had ever had one before; most everyone really enjoyed them.

So definitely keep the thoughts and the stories coming... we'd love to be able to put the spotlight on some delicious Ohio products that fit the Ark criteria.



Great that you know about

AppStaple's picture

Great that you know about Chris. Maybe you can make it to the Paw Paw Fest this Sept.

Thanks also for joining foodshed. We have a group there called the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative--which is also on this site. Sorry we haven't posted much here lately, but will in August when things slow down a bit.


Seed savers and ethnic diversity in Ohio

Casey Hoy's picture


One other thought on the Ark of Taste, the idea is very similar to the motivation for the seed savers exchange.  Leah Miller, stakeholder coordinator for AMP and director of the Small Farm Institute, recently visited the Seed Savers farm in Iowa and will be posting a story on it soon (or may have already).  Their goal is to preserve the many unique cultivars that have enriched our gardens and diets in the past, often as a result of diverse cultural and ethnic traditions.  Ohio, like a lot of places, is quite a melting pot but with a lot of strong ethnic ties and traditions that are still hanging in there.   So some of these communities, perhaps the eastern European enclaves of Cleveland or the Italian traditions around Youngstown, and seed savers may be good entry points to find Ark candidates, and good Ark candidates should be participating in seed savers.  


PS.  I've planted pawpaws, persimmons and hazelnuts around my home and I'm patiently waiting for the bounty that is probably still a few years off! 

Good thoughts on Seed

Bear Braumoeller's picture

Good thoughts on Seed Savers.  Sounds worth a look.

And, I went to the pawpaw festival last September... had more than my share.  Delicious!

I've been in touch with the national Ark of Taste people and they passed along a couple of interesting things.  First, it's difficult for them to "board" wild food products (like leeks) as opposed to cultivated ones... makes sense.  Second, they're actually in the process of trying to track down some historic pawpaw varieties to preserve.  If anyone has information on any of the following varieties, they'd appreciate it:

‘Ketter’ -- originated in Ohio; tough skin keeps its good yellow color; large; flesh yellow, mild but not insipid; winner of the American Genetic Society’s pawpaw contest in 1916 for the best fruit; early ripening, considered the second-best variety by Dr. G.A. Zimmerman, who had an extensive pawpaw collection in the early 20th century.

‘Fairchild’ -- a seedling of ‘Ketter’ that Zimmerman considered the best pawpaw variety; productive; early ripening; don’t know the place of origin.

‘Uncle Tom’ -- originated in Indiana around the turn of the century (1900); first named variety of pawpaw; fruit borne singly or in pairs; no idea about quality, or whether this is still in existence.




Robert Fedyski's picture

Hi Bear,

Hope to see you at the PawPaw Fest this year. The person to talk with about the pawpaw varieties is Chris Chmeil through email at . He's really busy right now with goats, cheese production, and preparing for this year's festival, so he may take a while to respond.

You might contact Chmiel

AppStaple's picture

You might contact Chmiel about varieties. His email is

Thanks for posting to Ohiofoodshed. We have a lot of native stands in the southern part of Ohio.