The remarkable book Field and Garden Vegetables of America by Fearing Burr was one of the first gardening treatises written in 1863 for the American Gardener.
The subtitle is “Containing the full descriptions of nearly eleven hundred species and varieties; with directions for propagation, culture, and use; illustrated”. We love old books because they always tell you what you are going to be reading in full detail right on the title page!
We thought we would share with you a little history of an heirloom from the past. This is a book that has been referenced in many writings and we has been on our list to acquire for a few years. We were lucky enough to find an older reprint in good shape at a reasonable price.
Here’s what Fearing had to say about Savoy Cabbage, in 1863!
“This class of Cabbages derives its popular name from Savoy, a small district adjoining Italy, where the variety originated, and from whence it was introduced into England and France more than a hundred and fifty years ago. The Savoys are distinguished from the common head or closehearted Cabbages by their peculiar, wrinkled, or blistered leaves. According to Decandole, this peculiarity is caused by the fact that the pulp, or thin portion of the leaf, is developed more rapidly than the ribs and nerves.
Besides the distinction in the structure of the leaves, the Savoys, when compared with the Common Cabbages, are slower in their development, and have more open or less compactly formed heads. In texture and flavor they are thought to approach some of the Broccolis or Cauliflowers; having, generally, little of the peculiar musky odor and taste common to some of the coarser and larger varieties of Cabbages.
None of the family are the hardier or more easily cultivated than the Savoys; and thought they will not quite survive the winter in the open ground, so far are they from being injured by cold and frosty weather, that a certain degree of frost is considered necessary for the complete perfections of their texture and flavor.”
Maybe Savoy Cabbage should be the cabbage of choice in everyone’s garden. We offer the Savoy Perfection Cabbage, which in a 1932 Burpee’s Seed Catalog was described as, “The best Savoy Cabbage in existence. Considered more tasty than ordinary cabbage. The deep green, crinkled outer leaves enclose a solid, tender, light green heart of remarkably sweet flavor. Easily stored for winter use.”
Here is the perfect reason that heirloom vegetables are treasured and valued for what they are- a little different, but with a lot more flavor than their run-of-the-mill cousins.