19th-Century Plant Pioneer Changed How America Eats

By Begos, Kevin | Sunday Gazette-Mail, May 6, 2018 | Go to article overview

19th-Century Plant Pioneer Changed How America Eats


Begos, Kevin, Sunday Gazette-Mail


Who knew avocados, citrus and cherry blossoms had a spellbinding past full of smuggling, spying, tycoons and death-defying adventure?

"The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone brings a forgotten era of American food history back to the table, with a timely twist. It turns out some of America's first immigration battles were over plants, not people.

In the late 1800s, quantity, not variety, was the issue at most American tables. Different regions had specialities, but many farmers struggled to produce bountiful crops of grains, fruits and vegetables, partly because of limited native varieties.

A Midwest farm boy named David Fairchild dreamed of bountiful fields and tables, and he ultimately visited more than 50 countries to bring tens of thousands of new plant varieties to America.

Stone brings drama, humor and perspective to what began as a tentative U.S. Department of Agriculture program. Fairchild made a semi-official 1894 trip to Corsica, and suspicious local officials arrested and expelled him - but not before he slyly pocketed local citron seeds and shoots.

A wealthy playboy stepped in to fund Fairchild's travels, and soon exotic fruits, grains and vegetables were streaming back to Washington - and to farmers who welcomed the new diversity. Fairchild eventually became director of the USDA's "Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction.

Bureaucrats and politicians linked crop diversity with national prosperity, and some varieties were quickly embraced, while others languished for decades.

Fairchild eventually oversaw five globe-trotting USDA seed hunters, including Frank Meyer, heralded by newspapers as "the Agriculture Department's Christopher Columbus. The Meyer lemon, collected in China, was named after him. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

19th-Century Plant Pioneer Changed How America Eats
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.