Have you ever wondered, as you wander through the aisles in the produce section at your supermarket, where all those exotic fruits and vegetables come from? Of course, the usual answers will be Mexico or Chile, even Australia. Those are good answers, but I want to go a step further. Lets go back about 125 years, or more, ago.
Many plants, important plants, were native here. We know that corn, pinto beans and potatoes grew everywhere. Concord grapes, cranberries and blueberries were common, as were plums, cherries, peanuts and black walnuts.
The same goes for flowers, too. Most of those we have now immigrated from faraway places hundreds of years ago. Looking back 150 or more years ago, tulips and hyacinths were still in Turkey and Holland. Americans living then had not, for the most part, even heard about birds of paradise, anthurium or those orchids from South America, India and China. By then, I do believe that someone had brought over camellias and bamboo from China.
Here is a quote from those long ago days: “Until the plant explorers, such as Fairchild arrived on the scene, Americans ate to survive and to sustain. Then they ate to enjoy.”