In the Land of the Tomato
The first tomatoes grown for the commercial market in the State of Texas were grown in the Jacksonville area, at Craft, in the year 1897. That year six cars were shipped. The first two were sold in St. Louis, the second two sold in Kansas City and the last two sold in Denver. Through the years Jacksonville has been recognized as one of the outstanding tomato producing sections of the Nation with an average of 15,000 acres grown annually in the area and with a production of about 3,000 cars which are shipped to all parts of the United States and Canada.
The attainment of this place of national consequence has not been easy. There are innumerable odds and hazards in every crop. However, there is a "Tomato-Mindedness" in the area and despite all conflicting conditions, the farmers of this section will go on growing tomatoes because it is their chief livelihood and throughout all their active farm life, they have been accustomed to growing them.
Tomatoes grown in the rich, red loam and sandy soil heavily impregnated with iron ore and other minerals of this East Texas area are fine flavored and a distinctive favorite on American tables. Growers of this section, because of their experience, the soil and climatic conditions, have an advantage in a superior pack and a higher quality product.
The tomato, it is believed, originated in one of the American tropics where it was eaten by the wild tribes and called tomati. It was sown among maize by the ancient Mexicans and used in the perparation of sauces and relishes to enrich their highly seasoned foods.
It was introduced in Europe under the name of "Mala Peruviana" and "Pomi del Peru" which has given rise to a belief it may have originated in Peru.
The French named the tomato, which is believed to have come to them through Portugal from some American tropical clime, the Pomes d' Amours or "Love Apple." In 1656, it is recorded they were cultivated in England for ornament and curiosity. In 1812 they were an article of field culture in Italy and were used extensively in Italian cookery. Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes in Virginia in 1781. They were introduced to Massachusetts in 1902 by an Italian painter. In Connecticut tomatoes were first raised in 1832 as a curiosity and were called 'love apples.' Prior to 1834 the tomato was almost wholly unknown as an esculent vegetable and was used in European countries possibly 100 years before it found use in America.
There are abundant evidences that the tomat or 'love apple' was considered poisonous by the majority of people prior to 1835.
Since 1834 the tomato has been in growing popularity. It is used in more ways and comes nearer being a part of every meal on every American table than any other fruit or vegetable, and is probably the most outstanding among all fruits or vegetables as an aid to good health. It not only has a very pronounced and pleasing flavor but has a high, well balanced content of Vitamins A B C and G. From a small, seedy, wrinkled fruit, a century of cultivation has given us the smooth, fleshy, tasty tomato of today.
Tomatoes supply the needed vitamin to build up resistance to desease and infections especially to colds and other ailments of the respiratory tract.
They are very effecient as a body builder producing vitality and energy.
A clean, smooth, beautiful complexion is aided by a generous amount of tomatoes and tomato juice in the daily diet.
Tomatoes are a most helpful food in stimulating digestion, overcoming constipation and beneficial in the prevention of nerve troubles.
The tomato is also recognized in the preservation of good healthy teeth and is exceptionally beneficial in the prevention and treatment of deseases of the eyes.
Cooked tomatoes are practically as good a source of vitamin C as raw tomatoes.
For the best fresh tomatoes--be sure that they come from the Jacksonville area in the iron ore district.
Compiled by Greg Smith. If you have any materials you'd like to contribute, please email me.