Interview with Syl Yunker, July 13, 2001
Project: Appalachia: Landscapes and Forests of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummarySyl Yunker describes the immigration of the Yunker family from Europe to the Louisville, Kentucky area. He talks about his childhood home, his mother's involvement with the garden, and his father's work with General Electric on rural electrification projects. Yunker talks about the kitchen garden as his first exposure to raising crops and livestock. Yunker also describes the influence of a nontraditional doctor in the area who convinced his mother to switch the family to a predominantly-vegetable diet. He describes the preservation methods his mother used to keep many of the vegetables, crops, meats, and animal products through winter months and in transportation to town for selling. Yunker talks about a local forest where he, his siblings, and childhood friends would adventure and explore. He describes his family's situation during the Great Depression and some of the differences farmers and townsfolk experienced. Yunker talks about his introduction to ginseng from time spent in Korea while he was in the army. He goes on to describe the medicinal uses of ginseng and the unique strength of Kentucky-grown ginseng while also emphasizing the marketability of the Kentucky strand. He talks about the transformation of the ginseng market over the past twenty years and highlights the increasing role of the federal government in its study and protection. Yunker concludes the interview by emphasizing the power of forest medicinals, the cure-all of ginseng as medicine, and pharmaceutical companies' reluctance to look to natural medicinals.
Interview LC SubjectAppalachian Region Appalachian Region--Social life and customs Yunker, Syl Yunker, Syl--Interviews Childhood Crops Land use, Rural--Kentucky Families. Family farms. Subsistence farming Traditional farming Country life Farm life. Rural conditions Agriculture. Canning and preserving Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern Food--Preservation Appalachian Region--Social life and customs Appalachian Region--Social conditions Agriculture--Finance
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Yunker, Syl Interview by Rebecca Glasscock. 13 Jul. 2001. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Yunker, S. (2001, July 13). Interview by R. Glasscock. Appalachia: Landscapes and Forests of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Yunker, Syl, interview by Rebecca Glasscock. July 13, 2001, Appalachia: Landscapes and Forests of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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