About This Historic Picture
The Landreth Seed Company commissioned the oil painting pictured above for 1909, exactly 100 years ago.
The painting was inspired by a photograph taken by the photographer, Rudolph Eikemeyer, between 1894 and 1900,
entitled, Aunt Chloe Preparing Dinner, and was included in Eikemeyer's book, Down South, a photodocumentary of the daily life, post-slavery, of blacks still on Southern plantations. Eikemeyer believed that these former slaves represented a folk culture as unique and enriched as any that has ever existed.
Recommendations by Michael Twitty
Culinary Historian of Traditional African American Food Culture
Michael Twitty is a community scholar of traditional African American food culture, a Hebrew school teacher and an independent living history interpreter.
For ten years he has been involved in many projects related to exploring foodways from the Smithsonian to Colonial Williamsburg and has presented at conferences
related to the subject. His personal initiative is to document the West and Central African heritage in the regions where his ancestors were enslaved.
His first book, Fighting Old Nep: The Foodways of Enslaved Afro-Marylanders 1634-1864 is a compendium of his extensive research enriched with recipes
which he has collected from the descendants and writings of enslaved peoples.
Mr. Twitty has generously given of his time, knowledge and experience to assist and guide the D. Landreth Seed Company in assembling this unique collection of
heirloom seeds - seeds that were carried by enslaved peoples from Africa and the Caribbean. The fruits and vegetables harvested from these seeds became the dietary
staples of the African American family. On the anniversary of its 225th year, Landreth is pleased to offer this collection for all peoples who treasure freedom.
Brown Crowder (A Cow Pea)
Hot Pepper Habanero
Brought from West Africa to America
during the slave trade, it was noted in antebellum Mississippi in the 1860's.
Another variety of Scotch Bonnet, it's the secret to
perfect Jamaican "jerked" chicken, meat or fish.
California Black-eyed Peas (A Cow Pea)
Pumpkin Green Striped Cushaw
This prolific cowpea has assumed mystical
properties--attracting money, giving fertility bring good luck on New Year's Day
Known as the "sweet potato pumpkin", it was
brought from Jamaica to the Chesapeake in the late 1700's.
Sieva (Carolina) Butter Bean (A Pole Lima Bean)
Pumpkin White Cushaw
Called "sivvy" or butter
beans by generations of Southerners, and especially loved in the Charleston area.
Another variety of "potato pumpkin", more popular
in the Lower South.
Cabbage Charleston Wakefield
Spinach Climbing Red Malabar
Used for generations by Black cooks as a base
for Low Country "vegetable bunch", soup.
The crisp green known as "calalloo" in
the West Indies.
Cabbage Late Flat Dutch
Summer Squash White Bush Scallop
Praised in Black folksongs from Virginia,
"biled down" and eaten with hoecakes.
Known as "cymling squash", this was
one of most common vegetables purchased by the Jefferson family from their
Georgia Southern Collards
Tomato Cherokee Purple
Capt.William Feltman rode through Virginia
in the 1760's and saw enslaved Blacks growing "snaps and collerds" (sic)
in their gardens.
Representative of the great Southern folk tomatoes
grown on family farmsteads, cold tolerant and flavorful.
West India Burr Gherkin (A Pickling Cucumber)
Tomato Purple Calabash
Introduced by Minton
Collins in Richmond in 1793, the plant was originally brought from Angola
to the Caribbean.
Enslaved Africans were among the first to popularize
the tomato in the American South.
Eggplant Louisiana Long Green
Turnip Seven Top
Introduced by Africans and Spaniards into
Southern and Creole cuisine, they were grown in the gardens of enslaved Louisianians.
The classic Southern "turnip green," it produces a woody
inedible root but luxurious, self-replenishing greens.
Gourd Long Handled Dipper
Watermelon Georgia Rattlesnake
Immortalized in "Follow the Drinking Gourd,"
this was the most common vessel used in the rural South gracing most fences.
Watermelons were introduced from Africa
during colonial times; this variety reflects heirloom varieties grown from the
Dragon Finger Millet
Used to carry beverages to the fields and hung
to attract purple martins to deter other birds from the crops.
Representative of the staple grains grown in West Africa.
Millet is a sacred crop used to bless homes. A highly ornamental, yet productive
grain used for cereal or flour. The seedhead resembles a dragon's foot.
Plant is 3 ft. tall.
Mustard Southern Giant Curled
Grown in the Upland South since
the 1740's. Different mustard greens were sown with tobacco in beds
to deter pests.
Grown for good luck and to prevent negative energy near the
doorway of the household.
A beautiful red okra that turns green after cooking.
Known as "creasy greens," they provided a spicy contrast to other
The oldest variety of okra grown in the U.S., less mucilaginous,
it makes excellent okra soup and gumbos.
Beloved for their greens and their wine-flavoring blossoms.
Parsley Plain or Single
Brought to Virginia during the slave trade, peanuts were called
"goober" from the Kimbundu people of Central Africa.
Used by Mary Randolph to top off okra soup and
fried chicken in the Virginia Housewife.
Hot Pepper Caribbean Red (A Red Habanero)
Known as the Scotch
Bonnet Pepper, it may have been grown in the South since the 18th century.
Used to season "kush," an enslaved precursor to Southern cornbread
stuffing; also made into a medicinal tea.
Hot Pepper Long Red Cayenne
1,000 were ordered by Josiah Collins in
the 1700's to season the food of his slaves, brought directly from Africa to
Used to make mint teas for centuries in West Africa, and iced tea
and mint juleps in the South.
Hot Pepper Fish Pepper
A favorite in Maryland brought from Africa or the
Caribbean and used to season seafood, shellfish, terrapin and chicken dishes.
Used as a flavoring herb and to curb the growth of bacteria.
D. Landreth Seed Company
60 East High Street, Bldg #4 New Freedom, Pennsylvania 17349
For Assistance call 1-800-654-2407