From the streets of Treme to the 9th Ward, Mr. Okra delivers fresh produce daily to some of the neediest food deserts of New Orleans.
Arthur J. Robinson, a.k.a. “Mr. Okra,” is a simple man in a complicated world. In the age of fast food, strip malls and mega-markets, Mr. Okra stands as a stark contrast to the high technology and shiny produce markets of the modern world.
In a city known for its music and food—and its characters—Mr. Okra travels the back streets of the Bywater, Treme and 9th Ward or New Orleans, selling his vegetables from his iconic truck, one okra at a time. His unique promotion has made him a fixture in New Orleans and an integral part of the fabric of this community.
Mr. Okra's story is now the stuff of legend: a short documentary by Nom de Guerre films won top honors at the Sundance Film Festival last year, placing the lens not only on Mr. Okra and New Orleans, but also on the urban blight of food deserts, and the impact the lack of access to fresh produce can have on inner city areas and the people who live there.
In his honor (and in the name of good food for all) here are three okra recipes we adore.
Uncooked fresh okra is a thing of wonder in this fresh salad.
Sauteeing brings out the crisp, nutty-tasting side of okra.
Okra is lightly cooked then tossed with pappardelle pasta and cheese.