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Planting Seeds Of Change Inside Appalachia -- Plus New Hosts!

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Courtesy Alex Wilson, Multimedia Specialist, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
Brittney Adkins of Julian, West Virginia, graduates from Family Treatment Court in October, 2020. She regained custody of her four daughters, ages 2 to 10, who had previously been in kinship care.

We have exciting news. This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re introducing our two new co-hosts, Mason Adams and Caitlin Tan.

Most of the time, you’ll hear one host or the other. Special shows, like this one that serves as their debut, you’ll get both hosts at one time. Jessica Lilly will continue to report, so you’ll still hear her voice on Inside Appalachia.

Caitlin Tan has been reporting for the show for two years now. She has been the folkways reporter bringing you lots of really cool stories. Caitlin is originally from Wyoming and has reported from there and Alaska before joining West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Mason Adams joined the Inside Appalachia team in 2019 with the first group of our Folkways Corps reporters, and has produced several fantastic stories for the show in the past year and a half. Mason is a freelance journalist and goat farmer who lives in southwest Virginia.

In This Episode:

It’s been quite a stressful couple of months for most of us. For this episode of Inside Appalachia, we wanted to slow down, take a breath, and talk about one of our favorite foods — cookies!

We'll get some baking tips on a very special kind of cookie, made with local buckwheat and stone-ground flour.

Rachel Greene, one of our Folkways reporters, has been talking with bakers who make pies and cookies with flour that’s ground the old-fashioned way — at a stone mill. One of the bakers shared a recipe with Rachel for Buckwheat Chocolate Chip cookies.

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Check out this recipe for cookies made with buckwheat flour.

A Tale Of Two Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes

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There is a story about a special type of heirloom tomato, called the Mortgage Lifter. These tomatoes are big, pink and sweet. And they were so popular in southern West Virginia -- sold at $1 a pop, no less -- that they helped their creator pay off his mortgage.

A farmer named Radiator Charlie bred two tomato varieties in Logan Country, West Virginia and sold the plants at his local famer’s market to great success.

Except, that’s not the end of the story. There is another “mortgage lifter” tomato. Folkways reporter Zack Harold looked into how we ended up with different tomatoes with the same name.


Healing For Families

Much of our national attention has been focused on the coronavirus pandemic in recent months, but the opioid crisis hasn’t gone away. During the pandemic, extra stressors have made it especially challenging for people who struggle with substance-use disorder. Emily Corio brings us the story of how several parents are trying to maintain sobriety to get their children back.

If you or someone in your life is struggling with substance-use disorder, and you want to find treatment, here’s a number to call- 1-800-662-4357.

Jessie McClanahan is a ceramic artist based in Charleston, W.Va. She is known for incorporating cicada "shells" into her artwork.
Photo courtesy of Jessie McClanahan
Jessie McClanahan is a ceramic artist based in Charleston, W.Va. She is known for incorporating cicada "shells" into her artwork.

Buzzing Insects Of Summer

This year, millions of cicadas emerged for their once-in-17-year mating season in Appalachia. They exploded out of the ground and produced an ear-splitting noise that drove locals inside their homes. The insects split out of their shells, leaving the older shell behind.

McClanahan's finished cicada shells.
Photo courtesy of Jessie McClanahan
McClanahan's finished cicada shells.

Caitlin Tan found a West Virginian who decided to turn those shells into art.

We had help producing Inside Appalachia this week from the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Dinosaur Burps, Guy Clark, and Anna and Elizabeth.

Roxy Todd is our producer. Eric Douglas is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Andrea Billups. Kelley Libby edited our show this week. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.


Caitlin Tan is working as Inside Appalachia’s folklife reporter, as part of a Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies grant. The goal of her reporting is to help engage a new generation in Appalachian folklife and culture.
Mason Adams grew up near the Virginia/West Virginia border in Clifton Forge, Virginia. He’s covered mountain communities and the issues affecting them since 2001. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, 100 Days in Appalachia, Mother Jones, Huffington Post and elsewhere. He lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @MasonAtoms.
Roxy Todd joined West Virginia Public Broadcasting in 2014 and works as the producer for Inside Appalachia. She's the recipient of a National Edward R. Murrow Award for "Excellence in Video," for a story about the demands small farmers face in West Virginia. She also won a National PMJA Award For "Best Feature" for her story about the history of John Denver's song "Country Roads." You can reach her at rtodd@wvpublic.org.