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Ark of TasteArk of Taste

This catalog lists all of the varied and wonderful foods in the USA that are currently on the Ark of Taste.

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Name

Foods are listed alphabetically by the most common name used for them. In some cases the scientific name and other common names can be found in the full description of an item.

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Region

Foods on the Ark have strong cultural and regional connections. Search your region to find which items have a history where you live.

A

Abada Date

Phoenix dactylifera v. abada

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Originally date palms were domesticated in Mesopotamia. It has long been one of the most important plants of the arid, desert areas of Northern Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Varieties such as the Abada has been imported for cultivation in California ever since the early 1900s.

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Alaskan Birch Syrup

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In Alaska, where Birch trees are plentiful and maples scarce, the sweet and creamy confection that is syrup, originates from the Birch tree. Birch trees, like many northern hardwoods, have long been tapped for their sugary, invigorating sap, but in the contiguous 48 states, Maple trees' high...

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Algonquian Squash*

Cucurbita pepo

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The Algonquian squash (or pumpkin) originated in New England and was grown by the Abenaki people of Maine, New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts. Algonquian pumpkin was among the foodstuffs Lewis and Clark traded for with the Mandan Indians circa 1804-1806.

This oblong-shaped squash should be...

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American Bronze Turkey

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Historically, the American Bronze Turkey has been the most popular turkey variety in the US. Its exact origin is obscure though it does include a cross between the eastern species of North American wild turkey and the domestic turkeys brought by colonists from Europe.

The Bronze variety is...

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American Buff Goose

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The American Buff goose is a American descendant of the wild Greylag goose, which is found in Europe and Northern Asia. As a dual-purpose goose, it produces both eggs and meat. The meat is a rich, dark meat. The buffgoose is an apricot-fawn color with a whitish abdomen, brown eyes and orange...

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American Butternut*

Juglans cinerea

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Also labeled the White Walnut, the American Butternut, is a long-lived, slow-growing, shade tree that is a member of the Walnut family. This tree grows along the eastern US where the climate is just right for it to produce a sweet and buttery-flavored nut with an incredibly high protein value. ...

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American Chestnut*

Castanea dentata

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Nearly a century ago, the American Chestnut tree was ubiquitous among the hilly slopes of the eastern US. So grand in stature?often towering near 100 feet?and successful in procreation, it was estimated that one if four trees in the Appalachian forests was an American Chestnut. The nut from...

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American Chinchilla Rabbit

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The original Chinchillas from Europe were rather small at 5 to 7 1/2 pounds, so American breeders set out to produce a larger animal that would be better suited for meat and pelts. Through selective breeding for larger size, fine bones, and a good dress-out percentage, a breed standard was...

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American Milking Devon Cattle

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In 1623 the first Milking Devon were brought to Massachusetts from North Devonshire, England. In England, these cattle were highly valued for their production of both high quality beef and rich milk used in Devonshire cream. In additon, they had a reputation as being very hardy and able to...

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American Native Pecan*

Carya illinoinensis

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Originally renowned for their tough, difficult to crack shells, the fruits of the American Native Pecan tree are the inspiration for the tree’s name. The entomological root of pecan is ?pacane,? which comes from the Algonquin language and means ?nut so hard as to require a stone to crack.? ...

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American Paddlefish

Polyodon spathula

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The American Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is a paddlefish native to the Mississippi River system. It is a primitive cartilaginous fish that has remained unchanged for some 300 million years; it is closely related to sturgeon.

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American Persimmon

Diospyros virginiana

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Used by American Indians, African Americans and early European settlers, wild Persimmons are a distinctively American fruit. American Indians mixed Persimmon pulp, corn meal, and ground acorns to make breads and thick soups. African Americans used Persimmons to make sweet pudding, candy, and...

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American Plains Bison

Bison priscus latifrons, Bison latifrons, or Bos bison bison

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The North American Plains Bison, which reaches approximately two thousand pounds at maturity, is a dark brown, bearded herbivore with a prominent hump on its upper back. Both the male and female bison have horns. Bison are adaptable, hardy, disease-resistant, intelligent, and majestic. Raw...

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American Rye Whiskey

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Rye Whiskey’s transition from an American staple to an American relic started with the loss of rye fields during prohibition, and continued with the rise of imported liquors. Truly an American invention, Rye Whiskey is only made with American-grown, native rye grains as its primary mash.

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American Shad

Alosa sapidissima

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As a harbinger of Spring, Shad travels the 152 miles of Hudson River Estuary from the George Washington Bridge to the Federal Dam in Troy, New York. The origin of the Latin name sapidissima means “most delicious.”

Once the most important commercial fish, American Shad peaked in the 1940’s and dramatically dropped to its present low. Regulations do not permit any commercial or pleasure fishing of Shad in the Hudson River at this time. To return shad to the table someday, it must first be protected and not eaten.

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Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce

Lactuca Sativa

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Deer Tongue lettuce, also known as Matchless lettuce, dates back to the early 1740s, whereas the Amish Deer Tongue lettuce is variety from a later era--circa 1840. The name, deer tongue, comes from its pointed leaves that are triangularly shaped with green straight edges.

Because of its heat...

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Amish Paste Tomato*

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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This heirloom tomato was discovered in Wisconsin although its origins are in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is the heart of the Amish Country. The tomatoes are teardrop or heart-shaped with a brilliant red orange color. The Amish Paste tomato has a balance of acid and sweetness. When it is...

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Amish Pie Squash

Curcurbita Maxima

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This squash, which is also referred to by its Latin name, Curcurbita maxima, was obtained by James Robinson from Amish gardeners in the mountains of Maryland. The oval shaped and slightly pointed squash measures up to five inches thick and can weigh up to 60-80 pounds.



The Amish Pie...

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Anishinaabeg Manoomin (Wild Rice)

Zizania Aquatica

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Wild rice is a misnomer, as it is not actually rice, but rather an aquatic grass similar to corn. This tall, aquatic grass has long blades that grow best in the shallow waters of the Great Lakes region of the US (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio). Wild rice is the only grain native to...

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Arikara Yellow Bean

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The Arikara Yellow Bean was a primary food crop for the Mandan and the Arikara American Indian tribes of the Missouri Valley?the former is the bean’s name bearer. Both its hard shell and its tendency to hold shape make the Arikara Yellow an excellent dry bean. Arikara Yellow plants are...

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Artisanal American Apple Brandy

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The original distilled spirit to the American Colonies dating back to 1630, apple brandy is a spirit distilled from just 100% apples and aged in oak barrels

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Artisanal Sauerkraut

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Traditional artisanal sauerkraut is unlike the sauerkraut from large commercial producers in that it has no added vinegar or cultures and the cabbage is not pasteurized during the lacto-fermentation process.

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Atlantic Sturgeon

Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus

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“The Atlantic sturgeon is a long-lived, estuarine dependent, anadromous fish. Atlantic sturgeon can grow to approximately 14 feet (4.3 m) long and can weigh up to 800 lbs (370 kg). They are bluish-black or olive brown dorsally (on their back) with paler sides and a white belly. They have five major rows of dermal "scutes". They are distinguished by armor-like plates and a long protruding snout that is ventrally located, with four barbels crossing in front.

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Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry*

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This heirloom is not actually a cherry, but rather a small ground tomato. The fruits were recorded in horticultural literature as early as 1837 in Pennsylvania and are still common today at roadside stands in late summer. This outstanding Polish variety is prized for its clean flavor. This...

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Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato*

Lycopersicon Lycopersicum

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The Aunt’s Ruby’s German Green is a sweet juicy tomato with a piquant bite. The heirloom is a large beefsteak type tomato that is a pale green color with a hint of yellow striping. The large tomato often weighs one pound or more. Aunt Ruby’s German Green has the wetness of a melon and can give...

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Autumn Strawberry Apple

Malus domestica v. Autumn Strawberry

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Berries, berries and more berries! The Strawberry, or Autumn Strawberry, is an amazing medium sized heirloom apple distinguished by the unusual flavor of berries and apple.

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B

Baby Crawford Peach*

Prunus persica

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The Baby Crawford peach was rediscovered in a University of California laboratory, where it was being evaluated as a peach for drying. Andy Mariani, of Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill, California found the peach at the laboratory and grew it out in his orchard.

The Baby Crawford peach has an...

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Bay Scallop

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The geographical range of the bay scallop is from Cape Cod south along the Atlantic Coast and then throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Bay scallops are harvested commercially with drags from small boats during the season, which usually lasts from November to March. Fresh local bay scallops are...

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Beach Plum

Prunus maritima

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This wild growing fruit, native to the sandy soils of the North Atlantic coast, is highly prized for the tart and complex preserves communities in the region have prepared in their homes for centuries.

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Beaver Dam Pepper

Capsicum annuum

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The Beaver Dam Pepper is a Hungarian heirloom pepper that was brought to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin in 1912 by the Joe Hussli family. The pepper’s first fruits mature 80 days after transplanting, at which point they ripen from lime-green to red. The crunchy fruits are mildly hot and when seeded,...

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Benne Oil

Sesamum indicum

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A luscious and aromatic oil for salads or frying, this was the premier oil of the Southern US until it was replaced by less flavorful alternatives that were better suited to industrial production.

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Black Republican Cherry

Prunus avium l.

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The Black Republican cherry is relatively small in size, with a rotund shape, deep purple color, firm flesh and intense black cherry flavor. Although it was highly regarded by many growers, it lost favor because of its smaller size and tendency to be slightly astringent when not fully ripe. It...

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Black Sphinx Date

Phoenix Dactylifera

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The Black Sphinx is a distinctive variety of date discovered as a rogue seedling in Phoenix, Arizona in 1928. It is most likely the result of a genetically unique seed that fell from an established Havani date tree. Once discovered, it became very popular and a grove was established in what is...

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Black Turkey*

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The Black turkey originated in Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys carried home with explorers in the 1500s. Black colored turkeys became popular in Spain where they were known as “Black Spanish,” and in England, especially in the Norfolk region where they were known as “Norfolk...

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Blenheim Apricot

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The Blenheim apricot has been grown in the Santa Clara Valley region of California since the early 1900, a time when it was one of the most widely planted apricot varieties.
Similar to other varieties like the Royal apricot, the Blenheim was also prized for eating fresh, canning, and...

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Blonde Beauty Date

Phoenix dactylifera v. blonde beauty

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Originally date palms were domesticated in Mesopotamia. It has long been one of the most important plants of the arid, desert areas of Northern Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Varieties such as the Blonde Beauty has been imported for cultivation in California ever since the early 1900s.

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Bodega Red Potato

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For several decades, the Bodega Red Potato disappeared entirely from production. No one could taste the creamy and nutty flavors of this extraordinary potato that once fed California gold miners. Then, a surprising discovery of mysterious tubers started an exciting effort to repatriate Bodega...

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Boiled Cider and Cider Jelly of New England

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Boiled cider and cider jelly are traditional New England farm-based products made solely from the concentration/reduction of fresh, unfermented cider. Despite their deep historical and cultural roots in rural New England, these products (especially boiled cider) are little known today, even in...

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Bolita Bean*

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Spanish settlers to the northern New Mexican region initially presented the Bolita Bean to North America. After this introduction, the bean was incorporated into much of the American Indian food traditions in the Four Corners region. With its high protein content and its general ease on the...

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Boston Marrow Squash

Cucurbita Maxima

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This lovely, mid-size winter squash has a custard-like, buttery flavor with almost 200 years of documented history, though possibly of prehistoric origin. It reaches maturity in 90 to 100 days and has striking, reddish orange skin and an average weight of 10 to 20 pounds, though it can be...

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Bourbon Red Turkey

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The Bourbon Red turkey, also known as the Bourbon Butternut or Kentucky Red, was named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, in the Bluegrass Region, where it originated. This variety was developed from the Buff, an historic variety of turkey known in the Mid-Atlantic States. It resulted from stocks...

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Bradford Watermelon

Citrullus lanatus v. Bradford 1

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One of the three oldest surviving North American watermelons for which a breeding discipline and a standard configuration developed, the Bradford Watermelon came into existence in the 1840s and 1850s in Sumter, SC bred by Nathaniel Napoleon Bradford (1809-1882).

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Bronx Grapes

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In 1933 at the Cornell Biological Field Station in Geneva, New York, the Concord crape and the Thompson grape where mixed to for the Bronx Grape. The Bronx has the robust flavor of the Concord grape and the texture of the Thompson grape.

As the Bronx ripen, they change from slightly tart,...

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Brown and White Tepary Bean

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The namesake of both the brown and the white Tepary bean is pawi, the Papago Indian word for bean, and further, t'pawi—meaning ‘it is a bean.' The Tepary plant is adapted to the dry conditions of the American southwest; it is drought-resistant and able to mature on a single irrigation...

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Brunette Beauty Date

Phoenix dactylifera v. Brunette Beauty

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Originally date palms were domesticated in Mesopotamia. It has long been one of the most important plants of the arid, desert areas of Northern Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Varieties such as the Brunette Beauty has been imported for cultivation in California ever since the early 1900s.

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Buckeye Chicken

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The Buckeye is a dual-purpose breed of chicken with a deep, lustrous red color of plumage. They have yellow legs and skin, and, thanks to their pea comb, are very cold-weather hardy. While Buckeyes adapt readily to a variety of living conditions, they do best under free-range conditions, or...

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Buerre Clairgeau Pear

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Burbank Tomato*

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The famous horticulturalist, Luther Burbank, from whom the tomato takes its name, developed the Burbank tomato in 1914. The tomato has a classic taste that is acidic yet sweet. The fruits are relatively small and uniform, with a deep red color. The Burbank is particularly special because it is...

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Burford Pear

Pyrus communis

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Slightly more round than the traditional pyriform “pear-shape”, the Burford pear has greenish yellow skin that blushes pink as it ripens. The yellowish, crisp interior flesh has a wonderfully refreshing flavor with a nice acidity. It’s flavor and texture is similar to an Asian pear but without...

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C

California Mission Olive

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The California Mission Olive is a variety unique to the United States. Although its origin was believed to be Spanish, tests at the University of Spain at Cordoba were unable to link it to any of the 700 varieties documented there. The roots of the California Mission Olive are in the orchards...

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Canada Crookneck Squash

Cucurbita moschata (sometimes listed as Cucurbita pepo)

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The Canada Crookneck Squash is a bottle-shaped winter squash with a curved neck weighing between two and four pounds. When ready for harvest, the squash’s smooth, relatively thin skin will be a creamy yellow color that darkens in storage. The interior flesh is has a wonderfully creamy texture...

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Candy Roaster Squash

Cucurbita maxima v. candy roaster

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The Candy Roaster is a squash variety traditionally bred by the Cherokee, in present day North Carolina.  It is known for its sweet, unique flavor, which is the reasoning behind its name.

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Cape May Salt Oyster

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The town of Cape May was once filled with large heaps of shells bleached white by the sun and its port was lined with long buildings facing the water. Oysters once streamed out of here: they were collected in barrels, loaded onto trucks and dispatched to Philadelphia. The shells are all that...

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Capitol Reef Apple

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Capitol Reef National Park is known for more than just its scenic views of geologic features and glorious hikes, it is also the home of the Capitol Reef Apple, which is cultivated onsite in the park’s historic Fruita Orchards. Fruita, which was settled in 1880, was home to no more than ten...

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Carolina African Runner Peanut

Arachis hypogaea v. carolina african

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The Carolina African Runner Peanut was the foundation variety grown in the south, introduced in the 17th century into the southeastern colonies of British America from the West of Africa. As the ur-peanut of the United States, every culinary preparation of the peanut was first attempted and enjoyed using the Carolina African Runner Peanut. The last commercial crops of this peanut probably date from the late 1920s.

The Carolina African Runner Peanut was harvested for the first time in a half a century on November 26, 2013 at the Clemson Coastal Research Station south of Charleston, South Carolina.

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Carolina Gold Rice

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Carolina Gold Rice, a long grain rice, was the basis of the colonial and antebellum economy of Carolina and Georgia. Considered the grandfather of long grain rice in the Americas, Carolina Gold (which emanated from Africa and Indonesia) became a commercial staple grain in the coastal lands of...

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Cayuga Duck

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According to local lore, the Cayuga Duck is a breed developed from a pair of wild ducks that a miller caught on his mill pond in 1809. The miller was reported to have pinioned the birds’ wings so they could not fly away and they promptly settled into life on his pond in Duchess County, New York....

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Chaberte Walnut

Juglans regia v. Chaberte

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There is only one surviving tree bearing Chaberte Walnuts that we are aware of, a very old tree in North San Juan California that is estimated to be 130+ years old. The Chaberte Walnut is an 1800’s heirloom: a virtually unknown variety in the United States.

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Chalk’s Early Jewel Tomato

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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The Chalk’s Early Jewel tomato is about 3-4 inches in size and produces early, about 60 plus days. This tomato was created by James Chalk of Norristown, Pennsylvania and introduced in 1899. It was introduced in 1904 by the Stokes Company. Its exterior is deep red in color with a meaty and tender...

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Chapalote Corn

Zea mays

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As one of the most ancient corn species, the Chapalote Corn plant, also known as “Pinole Maiz,” was the first corn species to enter the US from Central America. Its flinty, coffee-colored kernels clustered in twelve to fourteen rows on small, cigar-shaped ears that taper at both ends. The...

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Charbono Grape of California

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The Charbono grape has a rambling life-story, not unlike that of an immigrant entering the US through Ellis Island—its name has been changed and its history confused. It is originally thought that Italian immigrants brought the Charbono grape to the US in the late 1800s under the...

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Cherokee Purple Tomato*

Lycopersicon Lycopersicum

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The Cherokee Purple was rediscovered by tomato grower Craig LeHoullier. LeHoullier claimed that it was more than 100 years old, originated with the Cherokee people. The Cherokee Purple tomato has a unique dusty rose color. The flavor of the tomato is extremely sweet with a rich smoky taste....

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Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean

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The Cherokee Trail of Tears bean memorializes the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians in the mid-nineteenth century. They carried this bean throughout this infamous walk, which became the death march for thousands of Cherokees; hence the Trail of Tears.'


In the face of its poignantly...

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Chicos

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Chicos is the name given to dried corn. While the word "chicos" is mostly known in New Mexico, it is dried all over the southwest US. The dried kernels are small and wrinkled in appearance, and if the corn was roasted before drying, it can be very dark as well. When they are cooked, usually...

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Chiltepin Pepper

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

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As the only wild native chile to the US, the Chiltepin is sometimes called the "mother of all peppers.” Known by many names—Chiltepin, Chile Tepin, Chile del Monte, Chillipiquin, a'al kokoli (O'odham), Chiltepictl (Nahuatl), Amash (Mayan)—the Chiltepin is widely used throughout the...

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Christmas Lima Bean

Phaseolus lunatus

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Historically, gastronomic accounts date the Christmas Lima Bean to the 1840s when it was especially popular in the southwestern region of the US. The bean, which is often called the chestnut Lima because of it similarity in taste to the nut, is a large—quarter sized—white, flat seed...

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Ciolim, Cholla Cactus Flower Buds

Opuntia (Cynlindropuntia) acanthocarpe, Opuntia (Cylindropunita) versicolor, Opuntia (Cynlindropuntia) arbuscula, Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) spinosior

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Also labeled the White Walnut, the American Butternut, is a long-lived, slow-growing, shade tree that is a member of the Walnut family. This tree grows along the eastern US where the climate is just right for it to produce a sweet and buttery-flavored nut with an incredibly high protein value. ...

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Corriente Cattle

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The Corriente breed, also called Criollo, can be traced to the first cattle brought to the Americas by the Spanish explorers in the late 15th century. These cattle were chosen for their hardiness so they could survive the ocean crossing and adapt to a new land. Eventually, the descendants of...

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Cotton Patch Goose

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Once commonplace on farms in the southeastern U.S., the Cotton Patch is a breed of goose that gets its name from the job it performed. These geese were used to weed cotton and corn fields up until the 1950s. Cotton Patch geese are typically remembered in the rural south for helping many farmers...

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Crane Melon

Cucumis melo

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Richard Hope Crane arrived in California from Missouri for the Gold Rush in 1849. He had been a farmer his whole life, like all of his forefathers. He mined gold for several years before arriving in Sonoma County in 1852. Oliver Crane, the son of Richard H. Crane, developed the Crane Melon in...

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Creole Cream Cheese

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Whether eaten as a part of a meal savory or sweet, Creole Cream Cheese is a celebrated part of the New Orleans culinary tradition that dates back 150 years to the region’s first French settlers. This cheese is similar to Neufchatel and other fresh farmhouse style cheeses with a taste somewhere...

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D

Dancy Tangerine

Citrus Tangerina v. Dancy

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This acidic, richly flavored fruit is the original tangerine.

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Datil Pepper

Capsicum chinense

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Most visitors to St. Augustine, Florida have never heard of St. Augustine’s most beloved treasure, the Datil pepper, but it has been the centerpiece of Old Florida cuisine since the 1800s. The plant typically grows to be around one to two and a half feet tall and bears elongated yellow/orange...

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Delaware Bay Oyster

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For 200 years, Delaware Bay oysters have been prized for their fine flavor and plump, firm meat. In their heyday, during the late 19th century, schooners and oystermen harvested the bivalves for local oyster houses and also for restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, St....

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Delaware Chicken

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The Delaware Chicken is a dual purpose chicken that produces good meat and eggs. In 1940, George Ellis oringinally produced this chicken calling it the Indian River Chicken. This almost entirely white bird was once one of the most popular broiler chickens in its area. Starting in the late...

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Desert Oregano

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Desert Oregano grows wild in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of North America where it has been traditionally used as a culinary herb to season fish and meats as well as medicinally, as an anti-inflammatory and an anti-vertigo remedy. It is currently hailed as one of the richest sources of...

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Djena Lee’s Golden Girl Tomato*

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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Djena Lee’s Golden Girl tomato is a large golden orange fruit with a semi-thick skin. This tomato was developed by Djena (pronounced "Zshena") Lee, who was part Native American and the daughter of Minnesota financier Jim Lee. It was grown in the 1920s, given to Reverand Morrow when he was 15,...

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Dominique Chicken

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While the Dominique chicken breed looks similar to the Plymouth Rock breed—both have black and white barring over the entire body—the former is a moderate sized bird with a distinguishing rose comb (the comb is flat and flower-like). The Dominique’s heavy plumage protects the bird in...

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Dry Monterey Jack Cheese

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California’s Dry Monterey Jack Cheese is dulcet and mellow with a bold nutty flavor. The cheese’s exotic mingle of flavors originates with milk from grass-fed cows, which is hand formed into eight-pound wheels. The mixture is placed in muslin sacks, cured in brine and then rubbed with oil,...

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Duchesse d'Angouleme Pear

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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E

Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet*

Beta vulgaris

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This is one of the oldest surviving varieties of table beet, having been introduced in America by 1820. One of the most popular beets of the 1800s in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, it is an all-purpose variety, round root 4 to 4.5 inches in diameter with 48 to 68 days to maturity from...

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Elephant Heart Plum

Prunus salicina

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The Elephant Heart Plum was developed in Sonoma County by Luther Burbank from his collection of Japanese plums in 1929. The Elephant Heart grows primarily in the California region of the US.

The plum has smooth skin that is unusually mottled like a russet pear. The flesh is a consistent...

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Emmet's Cherry

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Emory Oak “Bellota” Acorns*

Quercus emoryi

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The Emory Oak Acorn is a small nut about the size of a pine nut when shelled. The range of the Emory Oak tree extends east-west from central Arizona eastward through western Texas and north-south from Chihuahua Mexico through southern Colorado.

Unlike most bitter acorns, Emory Oak acorns are...

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Empress Date

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Esopus Spitzenberg Apple

Malus pumila v. Esopus Spitzenberg

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Esopus Spitzenburg is an antique apple variety discovered by a Dutch Settler early in the 18th Century near Esopus, NY, along the Hudson River. For over 200 years this apple was the choice dessert, cider and culinary apple variety.

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F

Fay Elberta Peach*

Prunus persica

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The Fay Elberta is a yellow-fleshed freestone peach. The skin is fuzzy and yellow with a red blush. The peach is firm with a fine texture. The Fay Elberta has a spicy aroma and a rich, distinctive flavor. It ripens in early August.

The Fay Elberta is a rare find in California’s stone fruit...

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Fish Pepper

Capsicum annuum

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This pepper is an African-American heirloom that predates the 1870s; the Fish Pepper is bright in color and crunchy, with a hot and bold flavor. In the late 1800s, the Fish Pepper was widely grown in the Philadelphia and Baltimore area.

Fish Pepper plants have beautiful green and white...

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Florida Cracker Cattle

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The Florida Cracker is one of the oldest cattle breeds in the United States. The bred is a descendant from Spanish cattle that was brought to the New World beginning in the early 1500s and is known as a criollo breed because of its European origin. Through natural selction, the Florida Cracker...

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Four Corners Gold Bean*

Phaseolus vulgaris

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The four corners region of the US?Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico?is the geographical namesake for the Four Corners Gold Bean. In this region, the Zuni People first traditionally used this golden bean, which is also called the Shalako after a traditional Kachina dance. The Four Corners...

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Fuerte Avocado

Persea americana var. drymifolia x P. nubigena var. guatamalensis

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The Fuerte avocado is a medium to large fruit with an elongated pyriform (pear) shape ranging from around five to sixteen ounces. Its skin is smooth, easy to peel and its flesh is thick, yellow and 18% oil. Its flavor is rich and creamy with notes of hazelnut and a lemony, grassy finish. ...

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G

Gallberry Honey

Ilex Glabra

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Gallberry honey is sourced from a small evergreen holly bush (also known as inkberry) that grows along the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast and produces a unique honey that is popular throughout the piney woods and swamps of southeast Florida.



It is desirable for the rich, elegant taste and is...

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Geoduck

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Correctly pronounced “gooey-duck", this name comes from the Nisqually American Indian people of Washington State. Who called the animals "Gwe-duk” meaning "dig-deep". Geoducks are among the longest-lived animals in the world, as many individuals live for more than 100 years. Geoduck clams are...

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German Pink Tomato*

Lycopersicon Lycopersicum

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The German pink tomato is a Bavarian variety that is currently grown in Festina, Iowa. The plants produce large 1-2 pound meaty fruits with few seeds. The German Pink tomato has a full sweet flavor, even floral, and it is tender skinned. The tomato is an extremely versatile fruit, as it is...

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Giant Chinchilla Rabbit

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The Giant Chinchilla originated in the US. It was developed in 1921 by Edward H. Stahl of Holmes Park, Missouri. Stahl was one of the first to own a Chinchilla rabbit, a breed that had been created in France in 1913. He knew the fur industry would be taken by storm when it was introduced to...

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Gilfeather Turnip

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The Gilfeather is an egg-shaped, rough-skinned root, but unlike its cousins, it has a mild taste that becomes sweet and a creamy white color after the first frost. While the hardy Gilfeather turnip does well in nearly any climate, this touch of frost contributes to its unusual taste and texture....

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Granite Beauty Apple

Malus pumila

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The Granite Beauty apple, a large fruit about four inches in diameter, has a roundish shape that is slightly oblique at each end. Its surface is irregular and appears slightly hammered or “peened,” and it has a somewhat greasy or waxy feel. The skin is golden yellow, splashed, striped or...

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Green Mountain Potato*

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Orson H. Alexander, a researcher from the University of Vermont first introduced the Green Mountain potato as the answer to the US potato blight of the 1840s. The Green Mountain is a hardy, resistant, late-season variety. For nearly fifty years following its introduction, the Green Mountain...

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Green-striped Cushaw

cucurbita mixta

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a.k.a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash - a rare, valuable heirloom of Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi

The green-striped cushaw (cucurbita mixta) is technically a winter squash though in the American South, it also produces a spring harvest. A crookneck squash from the family Cucurbitaceae,...

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Greenthread tea

Thelesperma spp. (T. megapotamicum, T. simplicifolium, T. filifolium, and T. subnudum)

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American Indian tribes of the southwestern US use Greenthread—a drought-hardy perennial herb—to make a tea-like beverage. This drink is also known as Navajo Tea, Hopi tea or Indian Tea, as it is traditionally brewed by the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples. The Greenthread plant is...

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Guajillo Honey

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“The absolute finest honey in the world!” -- Deborah Madison, chef and award-winning author

Guajillo (or Huajilla) is a wild desert bush that is native to Southwestern Texas and Northern Mexico and a member of the “acacia” plant family. Guajillo is a spreading shrub that sprouts prolifically...

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Guinea Hog

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The Guinea Hog is a small, black breed of swine that is unique to the United States. Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Forest Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig, the breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on homesteads in the Southeast. Today there are 600 registered hogs,...

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Gulf Coast Sheep

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Gulf Coast sheep are descendents of Spanish flocks of sheep that were brought to the New World by explorers and settlers in the 1500’s. The Spanish sheep in the Southeast were shaped primarily by natural selection, gradually becoming adapted to the heat and humidity of the environment. Spanish...

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H

Handmade Filé

Sassafras albidum

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Handmade Filé , which is also known as Gumbo Filé and Filé Powder, is a powder made from the leaves of the Sassafras Tree. The Choctaw Indians of Louisiana are believed to be the first users of sassafras, a type of laurel tree native to North America. The tender leaves of the Sassafras were...

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Harrison Cider Apple

Malus pumila

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Photo courtesy of Ben Watson
The Harrison apple originated in Essex County, New Jersey in the early 19th century and was grown extensively throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern United States until about 1900. The early fruit writer William Coxe described the Harrison as the “the most...

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Hatcher Mango

Mangifera indica, cv. ‘Hatcher

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The Hatcher mango is a cultivar unique to South Florida. The variety is very prolific and yields unusually large, blemish-free fruits that can weigh 2-3 pounds or more. The fruit has a beautiful skin: pale green shading to yellow, with a bright orange-red flush; the seed inside is small compared...

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Hauer Pippin Apple

Malus pumila

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Described by tasters as spicy, clove-like, and sweet, the Hauer Pippin is a round to flat-round, medium to large apple with a thick skin that blushes a rich red very late in the season. The creamy to yellowish white flesh is juicy with very high sugars and relatively low acidity even after...

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Hawaiian 'Ulu

Artocarpus altilis

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A staple of Hawaiian foodways for centuries, today only a few majestic 'ulu trees are left - the offspring of ancient groves.

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Hayman Sweet Potato

Ipomoea batas v. Hayman

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In 1856, while trading coffee from Brazil and fruit from the West Indies to Elizabeth City, N.C., Captain Dan Hayman purchased a supply of sweet potatoes at one of the West Indian Islands.  A Methodist clergyman visiting the ship in Elizabeth City was attracted by the fine appearance of the potato; he obtained a few and propagated them along the Atlantic coast.

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Hidatsa Red Bean*

Phaseolus Vulgaris

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Oscar Will’s published his book, The Pioneer Indian Collection of Seeds in 1915. In his book, Will’s introduced the Hidatsa Red Bean to the American Public. This heirloom bean was originally obtained from the Hidatsa tribe of the Missouri River valley of North Dakota.

Traditionally, the...

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Hidatsa Shield Figure bean

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The Hidatsa Shield Figure bean gets its name from the Hidatsa American Indians of the Missouri River Valley of North Dakota. As one of the most productive dry beans, it was widely planted throughout the Missouri River Valley region. Planted with the traditional sister crops?beans, corn,...

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Hinkelhatz Hot Pepper

Capsicum annuum

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Named by its Pennsylvania Dutch* growers, the 'Hinkelhatz' is a rare heirloom pepper which translates to “chicken heart,” a description of its size and shape. The variety is one of the oldest preserved by this group of Mennonites, cultivated for well over 150 years. It was illustrated in...

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Hog Island Fig

Ficus carica v. Hog Island

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The Hog Island fig is notable for the rich complexity of its flavor profile. Fully ripe, it presents itself with an intense floral favor that yields to an earthy sweetness. The Hog Island fig remains a culinary link to the geography and history of the Hog Island, Virginia community.

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Honey Date

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Hoover Apples

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The Hoover is large in size with a roundish, slightly conical shape. This heirloom variety has a striking appearance since the skin is composed of two shades of intense, dark red (sometimes making the skin appear black). The skin is also covered with large dots. The Hoover has yellowish flesh which is fairly juicy with a slightly acidic flavor.

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Hopi Mottled Lima Beans*

Phaseolus lunatus

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Undoubtedly the most delicious Lima beans in North America, these heirloom varieties came into the Southwest around 1000 AD. Although known in farming literature since the 1930’s as the Hopi lima beans, these were once cultivated by at least eight Southwestern cultures, including Pimas and...

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Hua Moa Banana

Musa spp. (known in Hawaii as Maia popoulu Hua Moa, which translates to “chicken egg,” referring to its rounded shape. Marketed widely as the “Hawaiiyano”)

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The Hua Moa is a delicious creamy-tasting banana with unusually large, picturesque fruit. It has a rich Polynesian background and was very important to the peoples of those islands.

After being brought to Florida, the Hua Moa became a staple in the kitchens of many Latinos in the Miami area...

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Hussli Tomato Pepper

Capsicum annuum v. Hussli Tomato

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The Hussli Tomato Pepper is a small, heavy pepper with a shape reminiscent of an heirloom tomato, and thick walls which give them their heft. When fully ripe they turn a deep crimson red, but they are enjoyed when picked before full ripeness, when fully green or just beginning to blush. Along with the Beaver Dam Pepper, the Hussli Tomato Pepper was brought to Beaver Dam, WI by the Joe Hussli family from Apatin, Hungary (now Yugoslavia) around 1912.

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I

I'Itoi Onion

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Not only is the taste of the I'itoi Onion bold and complex, but also is its ambiguous history. The original US harvest of the wild I'Itoi Onion took place on I'Itoi Mountain, which is also known as Baboquivari Mountain. This mountain is regarded by the O'odham nation as the navel of the world...

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Inca Plum

Prunus salicina

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Luther Burbank of Santa Rosa, California first introduced the Inca plum in 1919. The plum is heart-shaped, tapering toward the tip. The skin is a beautiful golden color and when ripe it has magenta specks and a magenta blush around the stem end. The flesh is rich, dense, and crisp. It has an...

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Inchelium Red Garlic*

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Hailing from the Colville Indian Reservation in Inchelium, Washington, this garlic is a large and beautiful artichoke variety. The dense bulb, can have anywhere from 9-20 cloves and an outer bulb wrapper that is thick for the purpose of protecting the bulb. The flavor of the Inchelium Red is...

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Inciardi Paste Tomato

Lycopersicon lycopersicon v. Iciardi

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This tomato is remarkable for its wonderful, full tomato flavor, for its full body when it is cooked down into a puree for sauce, for its size on the vine, and for the number of fruits per vine.

The Inciardi Tomato was brought through Ellis Island with the Inciardi family when they emmigrated from Sicily in the early 1900's. The family carried with them their entire food supply in the form of seeds when they arrived in the USA. Fearing that the seeds would be confiscated by the authorities at Ellis Island, they sewed them into the clothing of the family members.

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Inland Empire Old-Grove Orange

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Valencia Orange (sinensis cv Valencia)Washington Navel Orange (sinensis cv Washington)

The story of Southern California’s orange industry is epic. Although citrus had been grown previously in California by mission padres moving north from Baja California, the first sweet orange grove of any...

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Ivis White Cream Sweet Potato*

Ipomoea Batatas

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Even though sweet potatoes are usually thought of as southern crop, the Ivis White Cream sweet potato is produced in the northern parts of the US from upstate New York and Maine to the rainy Washington coast?all areas where growing sweet potatoes was previously thought impossible. The potato...

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J

Jacob’s Cattle Bean

Phaseolus Vulgaris

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This bean is a Prince Edward Island heirloom. Legend has it that it was a gift from Maine’s Passamaquoddy Indians to Joseph Clark, the first white child born in Lubec, Maine.

It is a plump, white and red speckled, kidney-shaped bean with vivid maroon splashes. It is full-flavored, holds its...

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Japanese Massaged Dried Persimmon: Hoshigaki

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Hoshigaki are persimmons that are peeled and dried whole over a period of several weeks through a combination of hanging and delicate hand-massaging, until the sugars contained in the fruit form a delicate surface with a dusting that looks like frost. Unlike sliced dried fruit, which tend to be...

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Java Chicken

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The Java is considered the second oldest breed of chicken developed in America. Its ancestors were reputed to have come from the Far East, possibly from the isle of Java. Sources differ on the time of origin of the Java. But they were known to be in existence in America sometime between 1835 and...

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Jersey Buff Turkey

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The Buff Turkey, or Jersey Buff Turkey, is an historic variety of the mid-Atlantic region named for the beautiful color of its feathers. It was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1874 but was never widespread. So unfortunately, by the early 20th century, the Buff turkey was already rare. One...

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Jersey Giant Chicken*

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The Black and White Jersey Giant Chickens are true to their name, as they are the largest capon table birds produced in the US. The Jersey Giant was developed in New Jersey in the 1870s by crossing several large, Asiatic breeds, to meet the demand for caponized heavy fowl. The Black Jersey...

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Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying pepper*

Capiscum annuum

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This variety of pepper was originally from Basilicata, a southern region of Italy. It takes its name from seed saver Jimmy Nardello, who brought the seeds from Italy while immigrating to Connecticut in 1887.

This sweet pepper matures in 80-90 days from transplant, its fruits are 10-12” long...

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K

Karakul Sheep

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The Karakul breed originated in Central Asia, and its name comes from the village of Kara Kul (or Black Lake), which lies in the Bokhara region between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan near the Caspian and Black Seas.

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Kleckley Watermelon

Citrullus lanatus v. Kleckley Sweet

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This iconic watermelon has all the classic traits you would look for: deep red flesh, oblong and large at an average of 25 pounds, and a taste that is sweet as honey, but far from cloying, with a pleasant minerality adding to its complexity.

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L

Lake Michigan Whitefish

Coregonus clupeaformis

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Lake Michigan Whitefish, a sub-member of the salmon family, is silvery white to blue in color, with a greenish-brown hue on its back, clear or lightly pigmented fins and large scales (slightly smaller than a dime) with thick slime protecting them. It can range from two to fourteen pounds (the...

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Laroda Plum*

Prunus salicina

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In 1943 the Laroda plum was developed in Winters, California, by Claron O. Hesse at the California Agricultural Experiment Station; it was introduced to the market in 1954. The Laroda plum looks like a classic plum in color, shape, and texture but it has an extraordinary wine-like flavor. It is...

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Lina Cisco’s Bird Egg Bean*

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This tan and maroon speckled bean was brought to Missouri by covered wagon in the 1880s by the grandmother of Lina Cisco - one of the six original members of Seed Savers Exchange. An unbelievably aromatic and plump bean, its skin splits open to reveal a creamy, almost potato-like texture. Lina...

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Livingston’s Globe Tomato

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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Livingston’s Globe tomato is a three-inch rose-red fruit with a good yield. It was created when Livingston’s New Stone and Ponderosa were crossed. Pretty and pale, it kicks you in the mouth with a lot of flavor but the taste doesn’t linger. High in acidity, it is sour and very juicy with an...

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Livingston’s Golden Queen Tomato

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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Livingston’s Golden Queen tomato is a pale yellow medium-sized fruit that develops a pink blush on the bottom when ripe. According to Livingston, he examined a very pretty yellow tomato at a county fair. The grower gave him one and he took special care to preserve, test and improve it. After a...

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Long Island Oyster

Crassostrea virginica

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Also labeled the White Walnut, the American Butternut, is a long-lived, slow-growing, shade tree that is a member of the Walnut family. This tree grows along the eastern US where the climate is just right for it to produce a sweet and buttery-flavored nut with an incredibly high protein value. ...

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Lorz Italian Garlic

Allium sativum

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The Lorz Italian Garlic is an heirloom from the northwestern part of the US, with a very strong flavor. The Lorz family brought this plant to Washington State’s Columbia River Basin in the early1900s from their home in Italy.

Lorz garlic thrives in hot summers as it picks up quite a bit of the...

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Louisiana Heritage Strawberries

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The Klondike, Daybreak, Headliner, and Tangi strawberries are all varieties that were traditionally cultivated in Louisiana. These heritage varieties have a higher sugar content than typical commercial strawberries. In southern Louisiana, particularly in the southeastern parishes of Tangipahoa...

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Louisiana Mirliton

Traditional Louisana Heirloom Mirliton: Sechium edule (aka choco, guisquile, vegetable pear)

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Food advocates fight to keep this Caribbean-native staple of Gulf Coast cuisine alive, in the post-Katrina landscape

Nearly lost in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, the traditional Louisiana mirliton has been a key ingredient in Creole and Cajun signature dishes (such as shrimp-stuffed...

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Louisiana Oyster

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The Louisiana oyster belongs to the American oyster family. It is larger than the European oyster, with rough and heavy shells that are generally a grayish color. This species range is throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The Louisiana oyster can be eaten in different ways: for many people, they are...

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Louisiana Satsuma

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The Louisiana Satsuma was imported from Japan in the early 1800’s and immediately adapted by the populace with it’s easily separated sections of sweet, brilliant orange fruit and easy to peel, mottled green & yellow skin.

The name, Satsuma, was created by the wife of the US Minister to Japan,...

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M

Marbled Chinook Salmon

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

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The Marbled Chinook is a distinct fish that occurs predominantly in the fisheries of Washington and Southwestern British Columbia. It is believed that these Chinooks, (as opposed to the Red or White Chinook) originate from tributaries of the Lower Fraser, the Harrison, the Vedder and Chilliwack...

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Mariposa Plum

Prunus salicina

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The Mariposa plum originated in Pasadena, California, where it was a chance seedling that was selected by Jennie Benedict Thompson in 1923. The Mariposa plum is a large, round plum with a glossy maroon skin and dark red flesh. The plum is extremely juicy with an excellent, lingering flavor. It...

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Marron de Lyon Chestnut

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Marrowfat Bean

Phaseolus Vulgaris

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The Marrowfat Bean is a rare bush bean that was first popularized in the mid-1800s as a baking bean. Though predominately consumed in casseroles and stews, the Marrowfat has a dual-purpose as it is also used as a fresh shelling bean. The Marrowfat plant produces four to five inch-long pods that...

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Marsellaise Fig

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Masa Patties for Sonoran Flat Enchiladas

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Mayflower Bean

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The Mayflower arrived in the US in the 1620s, bringing with it the Mayflower bean. After its initial introduction to the Americas, the bean was widely circulated among the people of the Carolina region of the country. The Mayflower plant has short pods that hold the small, square shaped beans....

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Mayhaw Jelly and Syrup

Crataegus aestivalis, C. opaca, C . rufula

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The mayhaw is an indigenous fruit native to the lower Southern states of the United States that is made in to a uniquely flavored jelly or syrup ranging in color for yellow to pink to red.

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McGill Date

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Meech’s Prolific Quince

Cydonia Oblonga

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Meech’s Prolific is a historic American variety of the common quince (Cydonia oblonga). It was discovered in Connecticut around the middle of the 19th century and is named after Reverend William W. Meech, who first introduced it as the “Pear-Shaped Orange Quince” in an 1883 botanical article and...

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Mesquite Pod Flour

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Until 1890, pods from the Mesquite tree produced one of the most valued foods, wild or cultivated, in the Southwestern deserts of North America. The honey mesquite, also known as the velvet mesquite, is a nitrogen-fixing legume tree that produces pods rich in protein and sweet galactomannin?a...

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Meyer Lemon of California’s Central Coast

Citrus - meyeri

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Frank Meyer, an agricultural explorer for the US Department of Agriculture, introduced the Meyer Lemon to the US in 1908 after a plant-collecting trip to China. The lemon is thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. The Meyer plant is commonly grown in China, where it...

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Midget White Turkey

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This turkey is an example of the good breed improvement work of universities. In the 1960s Dr. J. Robert Smyth at the University of Massachusetts, created the Midget White turkey breed to meet an anticipated demand for a small turkey—capable of fitting into the smaller refrigerators of an...

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Mississippi Silver Hull Bean-Crowder Cowpeas

Vigna unguiculata

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The Mississippi Silver Hull bean is a variety of Crowder pea that is intimately connected with the culture of the American South. Cowpeas originated in the Niger River Basin of West Africa and were then brought to America during colonial times, at which point they became a staple food across...

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Moon & Stars Watermelon*

Citrullus lanatus

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Common names include: Cherokee Moon and Stars, Long Milky Way Moon and Stars, Moon and Stars, Pink Flesh Amish Moon and Stars, Sun, Van Doren’s Moon and Stars, Yellow Flesh Moon and Stars

A magical melon, the dark green and yellow speckled skin of the Moon and Stars watermelon evokes a living...

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Mulefoot Hog

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The Mulefoot Hog is an American breed that descended from the hogs that the Spanish brought to Florida and the Gulf Coast in the 1500s. The most distinctive feature of the Mulefoot hog is the solid hoof, which resembles that of a mule. It was bred to have a solid hoof rather than the typical...

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N

Nancy Hall Sweet Potato

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During the 19th century in the American Southeast, sweet potatoes provided the bread and butter for those people who could not afford bread and better. The potato was so valued it could be found in a myriad of food products ranging from beer to bread.

Photo courtesy of Maveric Heritage Ranch...

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Napa Gamay/ Valdiguie Grape of California*

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The Napa Gamay/Valdiguie Grape of California has been misidentified for decades until the early 1990s when the mistake was discovered. Previously, many California vineyards mislabeled the grape as a Gamay Noir or Gamay Beaujolais. However, DNA testing identified the Napa Gamay not as a Gamay,...

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Narragansett Turkey

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The Narragansett turkey is named for Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. It descends from a cross between native Eastern Wild turkeys and domestic turkeys brought by English and European colonists. Improved and standardized for production qualities, the Narragansett was the foundation of the...

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Native Chinquapin

Castanea pumila

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Chinquapins have a single nut in the burr, unlike chestnuts that have nut divisions. The chinquapin tree is excellent for fresh eating, roasting, or for wildlife food. The size of the edible nut is compared to an acorn or hazelnut.

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Navajo-Churro Sheep

Ovis aries

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Brought into New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley by the Spanish explorers in the 16th Century, the Navajo-Churro sheep breed is North America’s earliest domesticated farm animal. They are descendants of the ancient Iberian breed, the Churra.

Once numbering in the millions, the breed was nearly...

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Nevada Single Leaf Pinyon

Pinus monophylla

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As a tree with much historical significance, the Single Leaf Pinyon is the appropriate choice for the official state tree of Nevada. Bearing nuts with extremely large shells, the edible component of this US native is about the size of an olive pit. The nuts have a rich fruity flavor, which is...

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New Hampshire Chicken

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The New Hampshire Chicken is a bird with a deep, broad body. It is medium in weight making it a plump roasting bird and has yellow skin and medium to light red feathers. The bird produces actively brown eggs.

The New Hampshire was bred from the Rhode Island Red Chicken and selected...

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New Mexican Native Chile Pepper*

Capiscum annuum

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The New Mexican Native Chile, which is sometimes called the Chimayo, Dixon, or Velarde, is grown in the northern part of New Mexico where for centuries it has been part of the local diet. The Chile owes its variety of names to the numerous amounts of towns where it was grown. Today, Hispanic...

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New Mexico Native Tomatillo

Physalis philadelphica

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Tomatillo seeds have been found in archeological sites dating as far back as 298 AD in Ceja Mesa west of Albuquerque and also at River’s Edge west of the Rio Grande. This tomatillo is described as having both a sweet and smoky flavor, with slight citrus notes. The texture is also noted as being distinct - having a lot of juice and succulence.

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New Orleans Daube Glacé

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Encasing meat in jelly was a popular form of food preservation in the era before refrigeration. New Orleans Daube Glacé is a relic of this era. The Daube Glacé is made from a round roast of meat (usually beef) that is braised with various seasonings and gelatinous substances. This creation is...

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New Orleans French Bread

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This thin-crusted variety of French Bread—more commonly known as the Baguette, Po' Boy Loaf or Sunday Cap Bread—is fundamental to the New Orleans gastronomy. Each version of the French bread is slightly different. The baguette is the traditional 18-inch loaf that is served in many New...

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Newtown Pippin Apple

Malus pumila

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(a.k.a. Green Newtown Pippin)


The Newtown Pippin apple, native to what is now the borough of Queens in the City of New York, is a late-harvested, medium-large, flattish round, green-skinned, yellow-tinged, slightly russetted apple with a remarkably balanced tart/sweet flavor and an aroma...

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Norton Grape

Vitis aestivalis

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The Norton grape is the oldest cultivated American grape. Dr. D.N. Norton of Richmond, Virginia first grew the hybrid in 1820 and produced wines through the late 1800s. During this time period, Norton wines were highly valued in both the US and Europe.

Today, farming of the Norton grape is...

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O

Oldmixon Free Peach

Prunus persica

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The Oldmixon Free peach has a long history in the United States. Sir John Oldmixon, the peach’s namesake, first planted the variety in New York around 1817. Throughout the 1800s, the Oldmixon Free played a significant role in the American economy. Currently, it is one of the few peach...

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Olympia Native Oyster

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The Olympia Oyster - also known as the Oly Oyster - is native to the west coast of the US and was widely over-harvested by American Indians and later European settlers to the point of depletion. Sustainable cultivation in the Puget Sound of Washington State began in the 1930’s, but rapidly declined...

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O'odham Pink Bean

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The O'odham Pink Bean is a bush bean native to the desert borderlands of Sonora and Arizona. This bean has been an important resource for the O'odham people since the early eighteenth century. Reports from the early 1900s indicate that, as a staple crop of the Tohono O'odham, nearly two...

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Orange Oxheart Tomato*

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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The Orange Oxheart tomato is a family heirloom from the Virginias region of the US. This fruit has a deep orange skin paired with dense orange flesh. It is heart-shaped and can grow to a large size, often weighing in at one pound or more. The meat of the tomato is dense with a rich aroma....

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Ossabaw Island Hog

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In the 1500’s Spanish explorers brought a population of pigs to the Americas. These pigs became the foundation population for both domestic and feral pigs, in the southern United States. One of these important and unusual breeds is the Ossabaw, which is a feral breed found on Ossabaw Island,...

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Ozette Potato

Solanum tuberosum subsp. andigena

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The Ozette came from Peru by way of Spanish explorers to the Makah Indians at Neah Bay, Washington in the late 1700s. The Ozette is also known by the names, Anna Cheeka’s Ozette and Makah Ozette. It is considered a fingerling potato, as its size ranges from 3-7 inches in length and 0.75-1.5...

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P

Padre Plum

Prunus salicina

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The Padre plum was developed in 1921 by W.F. Wright of the US Department of Agriculture. The first tree was planted at Stanford University in Palo Alto in 1923. The Padre has waxy skin that is carmine red with yellowish dots. The yellow flesh is streaked with red next to the pit. The skin is...

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Pantin Mamey Sapote

Pouteria sapota

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A unique, tropical tree fruit with an interior texture that is both creamy and sweet, the vibrant salmon-colored flesh of the ‘Pantin’ mamey sapote is unlike anything most people have ever tasted. The flavor is a combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with undertones of almond, chocolate,...

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Pawpaw

Asimina triloba

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Though the pawpaw is generally unknown to the American public, it is the largest edible fruit native to the US. The fruit is indigenous to 26 states from northern Florida to Maine and west to Nebraska. Fossil records indicate that the papaw’s forebears established themselves in North America...

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Piki Bread

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Piki bread is a significant food both culturally and nutritionally to the Hopi people as well as New Mexico Pueblo peoples. The technique used to make the bread is difficult to master and has been passed down from mothers to daughters for generations. Although it is traditionally used in...

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Pilgrim Goose

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The Pilgrim Goose is thought to have come to America with the pilgrims and then named in the early 20th century by a Missouri farmer. It is a unique bird in that the sex of the bird can be distinguished by color; this is known as auto-sexing. Even when young the birds can be distinguished, as...

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Pineywoods Cattle

Bos taurus primigenius

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One of the earliest breeds of cattle in US history, the Pineywoods, has currently dwindled to less than 200 hardy individuals. The Pineywoods is a rugged breed that—because of its history—is well adapted to the humid South. They are descendants of the first criollo cattle brought from...

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Pixie Tangerine of Ojai Valley

Citrus reticulata blanco

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Spanish missionaries introduced the citrus fruits to California in the 1700s. By the late 1800s, citrus was a major crop in California and the growers had organized into a cooperative to most effectively sell the fruits. With all of the citrus buzz, the state universities became involved in...

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Plumb Cider Apple

Malus domestica v. Plumb Cider

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Primarily a Midwest variety, the Plumb Cider apple was extremely popular through the late 1800s and the early 1900s and yet suddenly disappeared from nursery catalogs by the 1920s.

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Plymouth Rock Chicken

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As a hardy, docile, broody and excellent producer of both meat and eggs, which it lays year-round, the Plymouth Rock Chicken is a quintessential American breed. This bird was developed in the mid-19th century as a dual-purpose chicken. The chicken has yellow skin and lays eggs that are...

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Poi: Kalo

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The Kanaka Maoli, a Hawaiian indigenous population, are intimately connected to the Kalo, or more commonly known as the taro plant. Their creation myth maintains that kalo grew from the first-born of Father Sky and Daughter Earth, and that the plant is the greatest life force of all foods. Early...

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Princess Almond

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Puebla Avocado*

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The Puebla avocado is a small, compact fruit resembling somewhat in appearance its better-known cousin, the Hass. The Puebla, however, has beautiful onyx black skin, which is much thinner and smoother than other commercially grown varieties. Once peeled away, the fruit reveals a striking pale...

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R

Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter Tomato

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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a.k.a. Mortgage Lifter, Halladay Mortgage Lifter

This tomato was developed by M.C. Byles (went by Charlie) of Logan, West Virgina in the 1930s. Charlie owned a radiator repair shop and had no plant breeding experience - this tomato was the only breeding work he ever did. Charlie took 10...

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Randall Cattle

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The Randall or Randall Lineback cow is a purebred remnant of lineback-patterned cattle once common in New England. Though the origins of the breed are not clear, it is likely to have originated in New England from a combination of Dutch, English and French cattle. Historically, they were...

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Red McClure Potato*

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In the early 20th century, the town of Carbondale, Colorado produced more potatoes than the entire state of Idaho. Carbondale exported four hundred railway cars filled with potatoes each year. One of these potato varieties, the Red McClure, developed by Irish mining immigrant, Thomas McClure,...

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Red Wattle Hog

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The Red Wattle hog is a large, red hog with a fleshy, decorative, wattle attached to each side of its neck that has no known function. The origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is considered scientifically obscure, though many different ancestral stories are known. One theory is that the...

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Reefnet Salmon Fishing Method of the Northern Puget Sound

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Wild Pacific Salmon reefnet fishing is a historical Pacific Northwest salmon fishing method. It has been practiced for centuries by the Native American tribes of the Puget Sound and farther north along Vancouver Island. Native peoples used cedar canoes and cedar nets to catch wild Sockeye and...

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Reine de Reinette Apple

Malus domestica v. Reine de Reinette

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<p>Although it does not look like much from the outside, this apple’s unique flavor has given it the name Queen and sometimes King, standing out as royalty among apples.</p>

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Rhode Island Red Chicken, "Old-Type"

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The rich, reddish-black plumage and red comb of the “Old-Type” Rhode Island Red chicken is an iconic symbol of American agriculture. It is a successful dual-purpose bird, and an excellent-tempered farm chicken. These birds are very good layers of brown eggs, perhaps the best layers of all the...

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Rio Oso Gem Peach

Prunus persica

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The Rio Oso Gem peach was developed in Rio Oso, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by William F. Yerkes. Yerkes originally selected the fruit in the mid 1920’s and introduced it to the public in 1933.

The Rio Oso Gem peach is large and round with yellow skin that has a...

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Rio Zape Bean*

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The Rio Zape bean was unearthed in the ruins of the Anasazi cliff&#150;dwelling people in the American southwest. This bean is similar in size and shape to the popular pinto bean and is purple with dark burgundy slashes. The Rio Zape, also known as the Hopi String Bean, has a creamy texture...

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Robe de Sargeant Plum

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Roman Taffy Candy

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Roman Taffy Candy was originally passed to the Sicilians from the Phoenicians. In the 1890s this confection was produced and sold in New Orleans by Sam Cortese, the original Roman Taffy Man. Sam’s business was predominately selling fruits and vegetables from a goat-drawn cart, until the...

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Royal Palm Turkey*

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The Royal Palm Turkey is active, thrifty, an excellent forager, and good flyer. The standard weights for these turkeys are 16 pounds for young toms and 10 pounds for young hens. Royal Palms play a valuable role on small farms, both as a producer of meat and controller of insects.

The Royal Palm...

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Roy’s Calais flint corn

Zea mays

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Roy’s Calais flint corn is an open-pollinated flint corn originally cultivated by the western Abenaki (Sokoki) people in Vermont, and subsequently grown and maintained by pioneer farmers, including Roy and Ruth Fair of North Calais, VT. In 1996 Tom Stearns obtained the seed from local farmers...

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S

Santa Maria Pinquitos Bean*

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The Santa Maria Pinquitos Bean comes from Santa Maria, California where it is known as a classic side dish bean. The bean is small, hearty and pink with a dense and creamy consistency. The Pinquitos bean is a quick-cooking bean that holds its form once heated and is consequently perfect for...

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Sea Island Red Peas

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The first professional rice farmers to engage in colonial rice production in the Sea Islands just South of Charleston were Italian canal engineers from the Sea Islands near Venice. These engineers were employed to develop the complex bay systems that made Carolina rice cultivation possible...

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Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple

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The sweet and tart flavors of the Gravenstein Apple are symbols of Sonoma County’s historical agricultural traditions. The Gravenstein, which was first planted in Sonoma County in 1811 by Russian trappers, ripens in late July&#151;making it one of the first apples in North America ready for...

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Seminole Pumpkin

chassa howitska (Cucurbita moschata)

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The Seminole Pumpkin is an important product for the Miccosukee, or Creek people and the Seminole people. The Miccosukee name for this product is “chassa howitska” meaning “hanging pumpkin”.

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Shagbark Hickory Nut*

Carya ovata

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The name of the Shagbark Hickory is telling of both its appearance and its utility. Mature trees are easily recognizable by their shaggy bark, as the name implies. Furthermore, the word hickory is derived from the word pawcohiccora, an Algonquin term for a ground meal made from the nuts.

The...

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Sheboygan Tomato*

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The Sheboygan tomato has been grown since the early part of the 20th century in Sheboygan, Wisconsin by Lithuanian immigrants. It is a 4-6 oz. paste fruit that is good fresh or for canning. Its strong flavor is similar to other heirloom varieties rather than paste tomatoes. It has a nice complex...

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Sheepnose Pimiento*

Capiscum annuum

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The Sheepnose pimiento is an Ohio heirloom plant that is a watery chile pepper with a rich meaty flavor. The pepper is filled with a mild tangy flavor and rates at 0 on a 1-5 heat scale. The Sheepnose Pimiento is generally used for canning and cooking.

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Shrub

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Shrub is a colonial-day drink whose name is derived from the Arabic word sharab, to drink. It is a concentrated syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar that is traditionally mixed with water to create a refreshing drink that is simultaneously tart and sweet. In the nineteenth-century, the...

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Sibley Squash

Cucurbita Maxima

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The Sibley Squash, which is also known as, Pike’s Peak, was obtained from an elderly woman in Van Dinam, Iowa who had grown it for more than fifty years. Hiram Sibley & Company of Rochester, New York introduced it commercially in 1887. It is a Hubbard type squash with moderately vigorous...

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Sierra Beauty Apple

Malus pumila

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Hailing from the coastal valleys of northern California, the Sierra Beauty apple is a late harvest variety maturing from mid-October into November. The trees are vigorous upright and hard, with heavy crops every other year.


Photo courtesy of David Karp

The apple has a round blocky shape that...

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Silver Logan Peach*

Prunus persica

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The Silver Logan peach is a light pale yellow color with pinkish hints. It has a pleasant flavor and a delicate sweetness. The flesh is firm but melting. The fruit is a large freestone and has an excellent balance of sugar and acid.

It was developed in Cedar Ridge, California, by Mabel A. Logan...

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Slate Turkey

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The Slate or Blue Slate Turkey variety is named for its color, which is solid to ashy blue over the entire body, with or without a few black flecks. It is also called the Blue or Lavender Turkey. Hens are lighter in hue than the toms. The head, throat, and wattles are red to bluish white. The...

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Sonoran Quince

Cydonia oblonga v. Sonoran

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First introduced through the Spanish Mission gardens, the Sonoran Quince was extremely popular along the borders between Mexico and the States.

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Sourwood Honey

Oxydendrum arboreum

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Most honey is made by bees. But sourwood is made by bees and angels. &#150; Carson Brewer, writer



Sourwood honey is so rare that a good crop sometimes only surfaces once every decade. Yet, its deep, spicy flavor makes it sought after by honey connoisseurs everywhere. The honey’s scarcity can...

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Southern Louisiana Hog’s Head Cheese

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Hog’s Head Cheese is a misnomer as it is a preserved meat product and not really a cheese. Also known as &#145;souse,' Hog’s Head Cheese was originally made by virtually every butcher in Southern Louisiana. This meat product is made from a mixture of boiled pork scraps and pigs'...

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Southern Louisiana Ponce

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Ponce is typical from Southern Louisiana as it is little known outside the region and it’s certainly a Cajun food tradition. The southern Louisiana Ponce is a kind of sausage made by fresh pork, spices, rice, and vegetables sewn up inside a pig’s stomach and baked or steamed for several hours....

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Southern Louisiana Traditional Tasso

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Tasso is a lean cut of pork, the length of a pig’s arm, which is smoked all day long over a pecan, oak or hickory-wood fire. This dish is a reincarnation of the French, ?Tasseau,' a heavily spiced, jerked pork. Tasso meat is intensely flavored with spices as a tool of preservation and is used...

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Spanish Goat

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Beginning in the 1500s, Spanish goats were brought from Spain to the Caribbean Islands and from there to the areas that would become the United States and Mexico. These foundation stocks were an undifferentiated Mediterranean type of goat that was common in Spain at the time but no longer...

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Speckled Lettuce*

Lactuca Sativa

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The origins of the Speckled Lettuce date back to 1660 in Holland. From Holland, the lettuce was brought to Germany, where it was widely cultivated. Finally in the late 1790s the Speckled lettuce was brought to North America, first arriving in Waterloo County, Ontario. The name, Speckled...

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St. Croix Sheep

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a.k.a. Virgin Island White Sheep, White Virgin Islander sheep, White Virgin Island sheep


An American sheep breed, the St. Croix is part of the Caribbean Hair sheep family of breeds. Caribbean Hair sheep were developed from the hair sheep of West Africa and a few European wooled sheep that were...

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Sudduth Strain Brandywine Tomato

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The Sudduth Strain Brandywine tomato is one of the best tasting heirloom tomatoes available to gardeners today. It has an incredibly rich, delightfully intense tomato flavor. When ripening on the vine its flesh bulges out of its skin. The tomatoes are large, pink, beefsteak fruits weighing up...

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Sun Crest Peach

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The Sun Crest Peach is a large, freestone peach that grows in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The peach has a bright-red blush over its yellow skin and is fragrant and juicy. Unfortunately, not much is known of the Sun Crest because of its fragility and difficulty in shipping, distributors...

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T

Tabarzal Date

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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Tennessee Fainting Goat

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The goats of this breed have a host of names: Myotonic, Tennessee Fainting, Tennessee Meat, Texas Wooden Leg, Stiff, Nervous, and Scare goats. The names refer to a breed characteristic known as myotonia congenita, a condition in which the muscle cells experience prolonged contraction when the...

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Tennis Ball Lettuce

Lactuca Sativa

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The Tennis Ball Lettuce is a black-seeded lettuce that was one of the most popular lettuces at the turn of the 20th century. Tennis Ball lettuces grow in small tight rosettes, and have light green leaves that are silky with a slippery texture. Traditionally, Tennis Ball Lettuces were pickled...

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The American Rabbit

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The American Rabbit population is restricted to North America. Though it was developed in California, the rabbit quickly spread across the country and was a popular meat and fur rabbit up until the 1950s. It is now the rarest of rabbit breeds in America. Though originally known as the German...

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The Silver Fox Rabbit

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The Silver Fox Rabbit is truly a multi-purposed breed whose genetic make-up has never been divulged. Today it is critically endangered with fewer than fifty annual North American registrations and there is a global population of less than 500.

The bucks can weight up to eleven pounds and does...

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Traditional Cane Syrup

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In an effort to save his frozen crop of sugarcane, in 1910 Mr. C. S. Steen, of Southern Louisiana, started collecting sugarcane juice to create syrup. Cane syrup is an aromatic syrup perfect for drizzling over hot biscuits or pancakes. It is also used as a sweetener for baked goods, as a meat...

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Traditional Sea Salt from Hawaii (Alaea)

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Traditional Hawaiian table salt, called Alaea, is an unprocessed salt that is rich in natural seawater minerals. The Alaea salt is reddish-brown in color due to the addition of a red volcanic clay called Alaea. This addition does not alter the salt’s taste or smell, but does significantly...

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Traditional Sorghum Syrup

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In 1853, sweet sorghum - a native African grass - was introduced to the US with the hopes of reducing reliance on imported cane sugars. This drought-resistant, heat tolerant member of the grass family is grown today in 26 states, and mostly in the southeastern and gulf states.

Sorghum syrup is a...

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TR Triumph Date

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A brand new addition to the Ark of Taste!

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True Red Cranberry Bean

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The Red Cranberry bean is one of the oldest American bean varieties. Its geographical location is concentrated around the northeastern region of the US. The Abnaki Indians and woodsmen, who inhabited the area that is now known as Maine, historically used this bean. The Red Cranberry bean is a...

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Tunis Sheep

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In 1799, the Tunis sheep’s ancestors arrived in the United States from North Africa. These sheep are often described as “fat-tailed,” and “barbary” and were highly regarded by a slew of prominent Americans such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Judge Richard Peters, and George Washington....

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Tupelo Honey

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Tupelo honey is produced when honeybees collect nectar from the blossoms of the white Ogeechee tupelo (Nyssa ogeche) tree. These trees are distributed along the borders of rivers, swamps, and ponds that are frequently inundated, mainly in the remote wetlands of Georgia and Florida. Tupelo honey...

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Turkey Craw Bean*

Phaseolus Vulgaris

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An heirloom from the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, the original seed is said to come from a turkey’s craw brought home by a hunter who is thought to have been an African American slave in the 1800s.

The Turkey Craw bean is typically a pole bean. It is a heavy...

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Turkey Hard Red Winter Wheat*

Triticum aestivum

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As the name suggests, &#145;Turkey’ Hard Red Winter Wheat is a tall, winter hardy cultivar, grown in the Great Plains. This wheat variety has a unique, rich, and complex flavor and excellent baking qualities. Production methods used are nearly identical to those used for other hard winter...

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Tuscarora White Corn

Zea mays

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Tuscarora White Corn, otherwise known as skaroora White Corn or Iroquois White Corn, is an ancient heirloom corn that is presently grown by farmers the haudenosaunee confederacy of nations. Tuscarora is an heirloom variety of eight-row corn that has historically been a staple of the skaroora...

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V

Valencia Tomato*

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This round, smooth fruit with a brilliant orange uniform color weighs around 8-10 oz. It is a midseason indeterminate tomato that grows well in northern and cooler climates (about 76 days). It is a family heirloom from Maine. Some say it is called “Valencia” because it looks like a Valencia...

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W

Wenk’s Yellow Hot Pepper*

Capsicum annuum

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The Wenk’s Yellow hot pepper is originally the Albuquerque’s South Valley, where is incorporated into the local cuisine. In terms of spice, this variety produces medium to hot peppers with a full flavor of citrus. Because these waxy yellow fruits are very fleshy, they are often used for pickling.

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White Kiawe Honey of Hawai'i

Prosopis pallida

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Kiawe honey comes exclusively from the flowers of the Kiawe tree, a type of mesquite, that grow in the arid, volcanic lava environment of the leeward side of Hawai'i. It is believed that kiawe trees, the Hawaiian word for mesquite pronounced "kee ah' vay", were first brought to Hawai'i around...

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White Sonora Wheat

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a.k.a. Sonora soft winter wheat, Trigo Flor, Sonora Blanca (Spanish), &#145;olas pilcañ (Pima)


White Sonora wheat is one of the oldest surviving wheat varieties anywhere in North America. Predating the Red Fife and Turkish Red wheat, White Sonora is a soft, round-grained winter wheat with pale...

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Wild Catfish

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As recently as the 1970’s, Americans?particularly Southerners?ate only wild catfish from both salt and fresh waters. The proliferation of farm raised catfish and their promotion led most Americans to believe that the farm-raised product was cleaner and therefore better. Today there are only a...

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Wild Gulf Coast Shrimp

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The wild gulf coast shrimp are wild-caught--or free-range?from the Gulf Coast of the US, where they naturally exist. They can be distinguished into white shrimp, brown and pink shrimp. These shrimp are all warm water species recognized for their sweet taste, firm texture, crunchy meat. Aside...

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Wilson Popenoe Avocado

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Unlike most oily commercial varieties, the Popenoe avocado is lighter, enormous (up to a pound each), has a shiny green skin and grows well in humid sub-tropical and tropical areas. The football shaped Popenoe is described as firmer, creamier and juicier than the Haas avocado.



The Popenoe...

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Wine Vinegar, Orleans Method

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Though scientific advances have made large-scale production of vinegars fast and easy, it is the handcrafted Orleans method that allows for the most full-bodied and nutrient-rich wine vinegars. This rare artisanal technique originated nearly 200 years ago in France. The transformation of fruit...

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Wyandotte Chicken

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This beautiful, medium-sized, rose-combed bird was developed in the 1880s. It is described as a bird of curves as its loose, white feathering is defined by an outline of chocolate-brown color feather tips, which produce a swirling effect. The bird is full breasted and has a broad back, with...

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Y

Yellow Cabbage Collard

Brassica oleracea v. Yellow Cabbage

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Originating in Asheville, North Carolina in 1880, the Yellow Cabbage Collard has been cultivated in the state of North Carolina since its origin.

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Yellow-Meated Watermelon

Citrillus lanatus

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The Tohono O'Odham people, who are now the watermelon’s cultural stewards, originally cultivated this yellow-meated fruit. The Yellow-meated watermelon is also known as Gepi by the Tohono O'odham people and as Sikyatko by the Hopi people. Watermelons were among the most important crops to the...

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* Approved by the U.S., awaiting review by the International Ark Commission.

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