I have just discovered an absolutely gorgeous seed catalog for Landreth Seeds, a Philadelphia company that is said to be the oldest in America.
Seeds included in the African American Collection are as follows:
Brown Crowder [Cow Pea] – Brought from West Africa to America during the slave trade, it was noted in antebellum Mississippi in the 1860’s.
California Blackeye Peas [Cow Pea] – This prolific cowpea has assumed mystical properties–attracting money, giving fertility bring good luck on New Year’s Day.
“The catalog is filled with hand-drawn illustrations (shown above), color photographs and articles from the 1800s. ‘It is filled with stuff that you will never see anyplace else,” Melera [current owner] said. “Articles written in the 1800s about creating a family kitchen garden or how to build a forcing frame because most Americans couldn’t afford a greenhouse at that time.’ …
“According to company history, it introduced the first zinnia seed for sale in the United States in 1798 as well as the first white potato (1811), first Bloomsdale spinach (1826) and first tomato seeds in America (1820).” LA Times – Lisa Boone
Photo credit: D. Landreth Seed Co.