Pokeweed
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Thread: Pokeweed

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Pokeweed

    Okay, you Southern Opelers, tell us about your fascination with Pokeweed.

    Pokeweed, (Phytolacca americana), also called pokeberry, poke, or American pokeweed, strong-smelling plant with a poisonous root resembling that of a horseradish. Pokeweed is native to wet or sandy areas of eastern North America.

    My web browser started off my morning with an article about southern folk really liking to eat a poisonous plant called pokeweed. It then went on to describe it's appearance and the bell I keep in my head went off. Hey, that sounds like that plant I've encountered ever since I was a kid that would randomly sprout up somewhere, grow to an enormous size, and then make lots of fascinating-to-a-kid berries like mini grapes. When you squish them they were like reddish/purple ink. I never knew what it was called, and no one else did, so I've always called it poisonberry because that's what all the adults said about it: "Don't eat them! They're poisonous!". Today at work I asked a random assortment of folks if they knew what pokeweed was and described the plant. None of them ever heard about pokeweed, but everyone knew what weed bush I was talking about just from my description.

    Pokeweed.jpg

    So I'm wondering how this plant that is supposedly popular down South is virtually unknown and very poorly regarded here in southern New Jersey, which is a very farmy part of the State and ain't all that far from "The South". I even saw a whole bunch of ads offering seeds of the stuff.

    I didn't have time to read the whole thing, but it said that the leaves are slightly less poisonous and they are eaten and that you have to boil them THREE TIMES to reduce their toxicity, "but it's worth it".

    Boiled 3 freakin' times! It better taste like filet mignon for me to boil a poisonous weed 3 times before I can eat it!


    Okay, Southern boys, tell us all y'all know about pokeweed please.

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    Senior Member Timbo's Avatar
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    We had this stuff in Ohio. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds around. It was a pain and we always had try to keep it in check.

    My mother had it in MA and we have it up here but it doesn't seem to spread as much. I think the colder climate keeps it more in check. Bittersweet on the other hand is totally out of control. Spreads the same way and it's taking over everything.
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    Solo II is fun in a GT! okieopel's Avatar
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    I don't think Poke Sallet is really the South's version of Fugu (Japanese Puffer Fish). I suspect it is more of a cultural expression of how poor the southern states (post Civil War) that we eat this stuff that could harm us if not prepared properly. So it was turned in to a delicacy and famed by Tony Joe White's song "Polk Salad Annie".

    As for me, I am not eating that, the bacon grease alone will do you in.

    New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die", that takes guts.
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    Dan
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    Your Noble Friend ;-) G.v.Mainberg's Avatar
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    You can eat anything that's wrapped in bacon!

    Dieter

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Here's the link:

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/h...=pocket-newtab

    Here's the article:

    <<<How Did This Poisonous Plant Become One of the American South’s Most Long-Standing Staples? by Abby Carney


    The plant’s inherent toxicity hasn't deterred those who swear by its delicious flavor and purported medicinal properties.

    Recently, while visiting me in Brooklyn, my mom’s eyes went twinkly as she noticed all the wild pokeweed growing around the neighborhood. A woolgathering reminiscence of her childhood in Texas spilled forth: cooking and eating the onion-infused greens straight from the pan; her stoic anticipation as her mother added vinegar to the last dregs of poke-broth, knocking it back like a shot of whiskey.

    She was surprised to find that my New England–bred boyfriend had never heard of the poisonous, towering perennial weed, with its oblong leaves and magenta berries and stalks. Despite the fact that the kudzu-like Phytolacca americana sprouts up all across North America, poke sallet, a dish made from the plant’s slightly-less-toxic leaves, is a regional thing, popular only to Appalachia and the American South. The leaves must be boiled in water three times to cook out their toxins, and, as aficionados will tell you, it’s well worth the extra effort.

    But if pokeweed is so toxic, why did people start eating it in the first place? In a word, poke sallet is survival food.

    The towering, perennial, poisonous pokeweed can grow up to 10 feet tall.

    According to Michael Twitty, historian, Southern food expert, and author of The Cooking Gene, poke sallet was originally eaten for pure practicality—its toxins made it an allegedly potent tonic. "Back in the old days, you had a lot of people who walked around barefoot," Twitty said. "They walked around barefoot in animal feces all the time. Most of our ancestors from the Depression backwards were full of worms." So then, poke sallet acted as a vermifuge, a worm purger.

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center cites research showing that raw pokeweed has medicinal properties that can help cure herpes and HIV. That said, there are no clinical trials that support the use of the cooked dish as such, or as any kind of medicine, but its devotees swear by its curative qualities. Pokeweed remains a popular folk medicine, but it hasn't been widely studied, so its healing properties remain, officially, purported.

    This isn't food that's cooked as a dare or to be showy, like say, Japanese fugu, one of the world's most poisonous fish, now served at Michelin-starred Suzuki in New York City. According to Nicole Taylor, chef and author of The Up South Cookbook, poke sallet is a stretch food, and it happened to be the first fresh vegetable to rise from the ground in the earliest days of spring. "When you look at foraging, that's only what they call it now. People who were poor and people who were formerly enslaved—they had to figure out what to cook, and what to eat. You can trace different wild foods back to those folks. People who are looking for food to get by are more likely to eat poke sallet than someone who had means to eat other things."

    Though mostly obscure to the mainstream, poke sallet, which is sometimes referenced as “polk salad” or “poke salet,” has occasionally dipped its toe into the pop culture pool. Most notably, in the lyrics of “Polk Salad Annie,” by Tony Joe White, released in 1968: “Everyday for supper time / she'd go down by the truck patch / And pick her a mess of polk salad / and carry it home in a tow sack.” The song about a rural Southern girl and her family peaked at Number 8 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1969, and was later remade by Elvis in 1970, and put into regular rotation at his live shows. Country legend Dolly Parton even mentioned in her memoir that she would use crushed poke berries for lipstick as an adolescent, since her parents forbade her from wearing makeup.

    Handling pokeweed is no joke. Twitty remembers messing with poke berries as a youngster, and the aching in his juice-stained hands that ensued. Using pokeweed in the kitchen requires caution—it can easily get you sick, with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat . Twitty says everyone he’s met with a connection to poke sallet says the same exact thing about it: “It will clean you out from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.”

    Yet the threat that pokeweed consumption can cause death appears to be rare. New Hampshire’s recently retired state medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Andrew, told the Concord Monitor of only one deadly incident occurring during his 20-year career. A young landscaper supposedly took a bite of raw pokeweed, mistaking it for a wild parsnip, and died 45 minutes later. One passionate pokeweed detractor, Jean Weese, a professor and food safety specialist at Auburn University, cautions strongly against consuming any amount of pokeweed, cooked or uncooked. Over email, she said she hasn’t heard of anyone dying from ingesting it, but she’s received many messages over the years from people claiming serious illness.

    Poke weed is prime for eating when it's young and green, before it's sprouted its noxious, calling-card berries and magenta stems.

    Foraging's resurgence, and popularity with a set that may enjoy, say, kombucha on tap and artisanal poutine, means poke sallet is being introduced to a new cohort of eaters—who may have little to no connection to the dish's history as a survival food. In New York City, you can even learn to track down pokeweed in its prime (when it's young and green, before it sprouts its noxious, calling-card berries and magenta stems) with a trained expert like Leda Meredith, author of "The Forager's Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles."

    Even so, it’s scarcely found on restaurant menus across the U.S., a contrast to other co-opted survival foods like okra, polenta, and grits that now proliferate on menus hawking “elevated southern fare.” Though people have been eating meticulously prepared pokeweed for centuries in the U.S. (and even longer in Africa, where the Phytolacca species is also native), the liability of accidentally poisoning a patron is not a risk many chefs are likely to take, to speak nothing of the labor-intensive task of gathering and processing the leaves.

    But such chefs do exist. There are a few exceptions who delight in the greens, with their subtle, hard-to-pin-down, vaguely asparagus-meets-spinach flavor, and they serve it on their menus as both a means to educate people about regional foodways and delicious vegetable in its own right. There’s Winston Blick, a Baltimore-area chef who played around with poke sallet on the menu at his now shuttered restaurant, Clementine (according to City Paper ), and Chef-owner Clark Barlowe, of Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, NC, who grew up eating the dish. It’s appeared on his all-local, Appalachian-only menu in many iterations over the years—blanched with popped sorghum or black walnuts and peanuts, grilled, and dressed with a house-made vinegar.

    Sheri Castle, a Chapel Hill-based produce expert, said she wouldn’t be surprised to hear of finding pokeweed at a place like the Union Square Farmers Market, but could only list one chef she knew of (Barlowe) who cooks with it. Taylor said it’s definitely not something she’d expect to see at a farmers market, and laughed when asked about who might be eating it these days, saying, “I think people who are eating it now are definitely not young people.” At the many poke sallet–themed festivals that take place across the region each year (like the Harlan County Poke Sallet Festival in Kentucky), you’d be hard pressed to find a plate of the mess. Poke sallet is merely a totem.

    Will pokeweed soon find itself hailed as a beloved “it-green”? Probably not. But it’s not so far-fetched to think that on my mom’s next early spring visit, she might be able to dine on her favorite dish without having to gather the poke leaves and prepare them herself. Like Castle told me, “If you want to save a food, you have to eat it. I really believe that. If the last person who ever has a taste memory of something is gone, then we have lost our baseline.” >>>
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    cool article scifi I learned something today we have those all over FL and I was told when I was just a we pint size lad that the Indians would use it for medicine along with another plant commonly found here that is super green kinda resembling the fern family that take over as well and grow to 7, 8 feet tall but die off in the winter I was told they would use as an antibiotic and make tea with it to sooth belly pains and other internal issues.
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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    What does this stuff taste like?


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    2000 Post Club soybean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    Here's the link:

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/h...=pocket-newtab

    Here's the article:

    <<<How Did This Poisonous Plant Become One of the American South’s Most Long-Standing Staples? by Abby Carney


    The plant’s inherent toxicity hasn't deterred those who swear by its delicious flavor and purported medicinal properties.

    Recently, while visiting me in Brooklyn, my mom’s eyes went twinkly as she noticed all the wild pokeweed growing around the neighborhood. A woolgathering reminiscence of her childhood in Texas spilled forth: cooking and eating the onion-infused greens straight from the pan; her stoic anticipation as her mother added vinegar to the last dregs of poke-broth, knocking it back like a shot of whiskey.

    She was surprised to find that my New England–bred boyfriend had never heard of the poisonous, towering perennial weed, with its oblong leaves and magenta berries and stalks. Despite the fact that the kudzu-like Phytolacca americana sprouts up all across North America, poke sallet, a dish made from the plant’s slightly-less-toxic leaves, is a regional thing, popular only to Appalachia and the American South. The leaves must be boiled in water three times to cook out their toxins, and, as aficionados will tell you, it’s well worth the extra effort.

    But if pokeweed is so toxic, why did people start eating it in the first place? In a word, poke sallet is survival food.

    The towering, perennial, poisonous pokeweed can grow up to 10 feet tall.

    According to Michael Twitty, historian, Southern food expert, and author of The Cooking Gene, poke sallet was originally eaten for pure practicality—its toxins made it an allegedly potent tonic. "Back in the old days, you had a lot of people who walked around barefoot," Twitty said. "They walked around barefoot in animal feces all the time. Most of our ancestors from the Depression backwards were full of worms." So then, poke sallet acted as a vermifuge, a worm purger.

    Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center cites research showing that raw pokeweed has medicinal properties that can help cure herpes and HIV. That said, there are no clinical trials that support the use of the cooked dish as such, or as any kind of medicine, but its devotees swear by its curative qualities. Pokeweed remains a popular folk medicine, but it hasn't been widely studied, so its healing properties remain, officially, purported.

    This isn't food that's cooked as a dare or to be showy, like say, Japanese fugu, one of the world's most poisonous fish, now served at Michelin-starred Suzuki in New York City. According to Nicole Taylor, chef and author of The Up South Cookbook, poke sallet is a stretch food, and it happened to be the first fresh vegetable to rise from the ground in the earliest days of spring. "When you look at foraging, that's only what they call it now. People who were poor and people who were formerly enslaved—they had to figure out what to cook, and what to eat. You can trace different wild foods back to those folks. People who are looking for food to get by are more likely to eat poke sallet than someone who had means to eat other things."

    Though mostly obscure to the mainstream, poke sallet, which is sometimes referenced as “polk salad” or “poke salet,” has occasionally dipped its toe into the pop culture pool. Most notably, in the lyrics of “Polk Salad Annie,” by Tony Joe White, released in 1968: “Everyday for supper time / she'd go down by the truck patch / And pick her a mess of polk salad / and carry it home in a tow sack.” The song about a rural Southern girl and her family peaked at Number 8 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1969, and was later remade by Elvis in 1970, and put into regular rotation at his live shows. Country legend Dolly Parton even mentioned in her memoir that she would use crushed poke berries for lipstick as an adolescent, since her parents forbade her from wearing makeup.

    Handling pokeweed is no joke. Twitty remembers messing with poke berries as a youngster, and the aching in his juice-stained hands that ensued. Using pokeweed in the kitchen requires caution—it can easily get you sick, with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat . Twitty says everyone he’s met with a connection to poke sallet says the same exact thing about it: “It will clean you out from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.”

    Yet the threat that pokeweed consumption can cause death appears to be rare. New Hampshire’s recently retired state medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Andrew, told the Concord Monitor of only one deadly incident occurring during his 20-year career. A young landscaper supposedly took a bite of raw pokeweed, mistaking it for a wild parsnip, and died 45 minutes later. One passionate pokeweed detractor, Jean Weese, a professor and food safety specialist at Auburn University, cautions strongly against consuming any amount of pokeweed, cooked or uncooked. Over email, she said she hasn’t heard of anyone dying from ingesting it, but she’s received many messages over the years from people claiming serious illness.

    Poke weed is prime for eating when it's young and green, before it's sprouted its noxious, calling-card berries and magenta stems.

    Foraging's resurgence, and popularity with a set that may enjoy, say, kombucha on tap and artisanal poutine, means poke sallet is being introduced to a new cohort of eaters—who may have little to no connection to the dish's history as a survival food. In New York City, you can even learn to track down pokeweed in its prime (when it's young and green, before it sprouts its noxious, calling-card berries and magenta stems) with a trained expert like Leda Meredith, author of "The Forager's Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles."

    Even so, it’s scarcely found on restaurant menus across the U.S., a contrast to other co-opted survival foods like okra, polenta, and grits that now proliferate on menus hawking “elevated southern fare.” Though people have been eating meticulously prepared pokeweed for centuries in the U.S. (and even longer in Africa, where the Phytolacca species is also native), the liability of accidentally poisoning a patron is not a risk many chefs are likely to take, to speak nothing of the labor-intensive task of gathering and processing the leaves.

    But such chefs do exist. There are a few exceptions who delight in the greens, with their subtle, hard-to-pin-down, vaguely asparagus-meets-spinach flavor, and they serve it on their menus as both a means to educate people about regional foodways and delicious vegetable in its own right. There’s Winston Blick, a Baltimore-area chef who played around with poke sallet on the menu at his now shuttered restaurant, Clementine (according to City Paper ), and Chef-owner Clark Barlowe, of Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, NC, who grew up eating the dish. It’s appeared on his all-local, Appalachian-only menu in many iterations over the years—blanched with popped sorghum or black walnuts and peanuts, grilled, and dressed with a house-made vinegar.

    Sheri Castle, a Chapel Hill-based produce expert, said she wouldn’t be surprised to hear of finding pokeweed at a place like the Union Square Farmers Market, but could only list one chef she knew of (Barlowe) who cooks with it. Taylor said it’s definitely not something she’d expect to see at a farmers market, and laughed when asked about who might be eating it these days, saying, “I think people who are eating it now are definitely not young people.” At the many poke sallet–themed festivals that take place across the region each year (like the Harlan County Poke Sallet Festival in Kentucky), you’d be hard pressed to find a plate of the mess. Poke sallet is merely a totem.

    Will pokeweed soon find itself hailed as a beloved “it-green”? Probably not. But it’s not so far-fetched to think that on my mom’s next early spring visit, she might be able to dine on her favorite dish without having to gather the poke leaves and prepare them herself. Like Castle told me, “If you want to save a food, you have to eat it. I really believe that. If the last person who ever has a taste memory of something is gone, then we have lost our baseline.” >>>
    Well you are correct Gordo. That stuff is all over my yard like kudzo. I spray it, kill, it and it keeps coming back. A most hateful weed. It is all over my farm and I have see plants " in the wild'',on the farm 8-9 ft tall big as He**. You can't kill it. Jarrell
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    Your Noble Friend ;-) G.v.Mainberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    What does this stuff taste like?

    What makes me think that Gordo will soon report report out about his latest experiment.
    And I would not wonder at all if Jarrell was involved somehow ...

    Dieter

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Marijuana + pokeweed = Hokeypokeyweed?

    Justanokiefromtheskokieweed?

    Smokeweed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    What does this stuff taste like? Marijuana + pokeweed = Hokeypokeyweed? Justanokiefromtheskokieweed?

    To quote you, Sheeet. Jarrell
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    Quote Originally Posted by soybean View Post
    To quote you, Sheeet. Jarrell
    I'll send you a picture of that Dam stuff. When things calm down. The plant is going into it's dormancy phase, so all the picture will show is the berries.A lot of Dam berries. We were supposed to be eat up with rain from 10 to 4:20, but they, (Dam weatherman),messed up the forecast, so after it warms up a little, and gets light enough, Hi ho, Hi ho, it is to work I go. pull wheel bearings. And to top it off, I cranked my tractor, went around the Grain bids, pull back up to the shed, cut it off, try to crank it, click,click, Dam relay the Dealership I told them to change is apparently blown. To quote you, (I'm so pissed off). But it's just a thing, go on and deal with it. I hope to get get out on the Farm this weekend, and I'll get you some pictures. Take care, Jarrell
    Last edited by soybean; 10-23-2019 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Stayed up too late last night
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    Southern Tastebud teaser

    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    What does this stuff taste like?

    Cut up in a skillet (no berries, they will make you sick) along with some cut up green onions and a little bacon grease, as a side dish, will make you slap your granny
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.v.Mainberg View Post
    What makes me think that Gordo will soon report report out about his latest experiment.
    And I would not wonder at all if Jarrell was involved somehow ...

    Dieter
    Dieter, you my friend determined to get me in trouble. and no it's nt 4:20, it's 7:38 Am. Thank you for the laughter, a great way to start a long day. (quit trying to get me in trouble, and you know what I'm talking about, "the picture"). Thank you, Sincerely, Jarrell
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    Quote Originally Posted by opelnut10 View Post
    Cut up in a skillet (no berries, they will make you sick) along with some cut up green onions and a little bacon grease, as a side dish, will make you slap your granny
    opelnut10, you and Deiter, have me rolling on the floor laughing so hard now tears are coming out of my eyes. Cut up in a skillet (no berries, they will make you sick) along with some cut up green onions and a little bacon grease, as a side dish, will make you slap your granny Great man. Jarrell
    Last edited by soybean; 10-22-2019 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Can't type, just hunt and peck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by opelnut10 View Post
    Slap your granny.

    Holy Cow! I gotta try some now!


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    Fancy fixin's for northern goemets

    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    Holy Cow! I gotta try some now!


    If you are worried about folks giving you the "evil eye" while eating this southern staple, cut you up some turnips and fry them in along with the poke, onions and bacon grease and tell them it's a dish from the "old country" handed down from your ancestor's
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    Quote Originally Posted by opelnut10 View Post
    If you are worried about folks giving you the "evil eye" while eating this southern staple, cut you up some turnips and fry them in along with the poke, onions and bacon grease and tell them it's a dish from the "old country" handed down from your ancestor's
    I wonder what the exodus of parasites looks like or is it just part of the flushing action that also follows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by opelnut10 View Post
    If you are worried about folks giving you the "evil eye" while eating this southern staple, cut you up some turnips and fry them in along with the poke, onions and bacon grease and tell them it's a dish from the "old country" handed down from your ancestor's

    Gosh! With all that stuff mixed together, it's gonna smell like my ancestors!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbo View Post
    I wonder what the exodus of parasites looks like or is it just part of the flushing action that also follows?

    <<< So then, poke sallet acted as a vermifuge, a worm purger. >>>


    Hmmmm......this conjures up disturbing visions of the attendees of my backyard picnic after sampling my poke souffle' and hot poke sausage with poke sauce. And, of course, the poke sallet salad bar. They'll be purgin' worms and vermifugin' all over my garden! Woo-hoo! What a party! And I hear worms is good fer the soil.

    soybean and terrylewisac like this.

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