Learning and Exploring

Origins of Foods

So, every time someone says eat produce locally and seasonally and such. I’m always think, “um, you know none of those foods are really native right?” And I think the seasonally part is based on domestication as well. I assume they mean to avoid shipping costs? That would make a difference.

First of all:

Grain or cereal is essentially grass seeds.

Fruits. Soft parts of plants bearing their seeds. The actual definition is grosser, read at your own risk.

Vegetables. Ok, I’d thought veggies were root, stem, stalk (I think that’s the more general specific term), but this also puts fruit, flowers, seeds, basically anything edible on the plant.

Some Foods from the “Old Worlds:”

Our little pollinator friends are from Europe the ones we have here I mean, I believe all North America had before was the bumble bee. And our, honey bees populations are shrinking. In our area, we’ve had pollinator zones put up, and I used to see bees all the time as a kid (We did live in an area better for plants and presumably therefore for bees) while we don’t have that many at my parents place, verified by the younger bunch who actually went outside at that house.

Carrots I knew/thought came from Asia, apparently Eurasia in wild form, but cultivation started in Asia.

From what I understand rice is originally and still mostly from Asia. I think that is familiar to most people.

Wheat originated the the Fertile Crescent. Something that I think most people should be getting from history.

Strawberries apparently have a wider range than anything I’ve looked up, the Northern hemisphere, but domesticated in Europe, really recently compared to everything else. I guess in books most people referred to wild strawberries. The wild strawberries we have here taste like nothing.

Cherries also appear to have as broad a range.

From the Americas:

Blueberries are from North America, I was surprised, I thought most berries we ate came from Europe.

Potatoes are from Peru and Bolivia.

Tomatoes (a FRUIT) are similarly from the Andes region. Now, that I didn’t know already. I’d assumed Asia.

Sweet potatoes are from tropical parts of the Americas. (proper yams are from Africa and Asia but we sometimes call sweet potatoes yams here, so I don’t know if I have had a real yam?)

Corn (zea mays) is originally from Mexico. I know for a while wheat was originally called corn in England, hence “The Corn Laws.”


This has been a lesson in “Well, Ackshully” history with Rachel.


  • Elizabeth

    I didn’t realize how many things are things from other countries originally. I knew quite a few things were but it was more of a general not-really-thinking-about-it type of thing so this was interesting!

    • Rachel Olivia

      I’d heard bits and pieces, you get a lot about grains through out history, but I learned more about berries in researching this post, now I’m curious to look up more.

    • Rachel Olivia

      I didn’t either or I forgot, for some reason I thought most of the main grocery store type berries were from Europe.

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