This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Few persons appreciate the progress made in the consumption of vegetables. Statistics show that while the population of Philadelphia has increased twenty per cent., the consumption of vegetables has been tenfold in the same time. There is no doubt much of the improved health which statistics now show, is due to this increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Not only are vegetables more eaten, but I think it will be evident to anyone who examines them now and remembers what they once were, that they are generally better in quality; and this is a great tribute to horticultural progress.
It is interesting to note how many vegetables are now used at sea as well as On land. "Jack Tar" had once to be satisfied with hard tack and pork, but now fresh vegetables form no inconsiderable part of the seaman's food.
But perhaps the most surprising part of our progress has been in the growth of vegetable commerce. In our younger days people only had to eat the vegetables which grew in the districts about them, but now there is a steady stream of early spring vegetables northward, and summer and fall vegetables southward, and the cultivation of vegetables has become almost as much an object of interest with the transportation companies, as the growers of pork and grain. Even the local trade in vegetables is wonderful. It is worth one's while to note in the fall of the year the cabbage wagons that will accumulate in a short half an hour at one of the New Jersey ferries waiting for the boat to cross to Philadelphia. I have counted on some mornings from one hundred to over hundred and thirty at a time, and have been told that six hundred heads are on a single wagon. The cabbage harvest begins the middle of October, and continues till the middle of December in Philadelphia. These seldom bring less than $2 per 100. They are usually ordered before being cut, and cash paid on delivery so that with little loss and sure returns, it is a popular business to raise them, where the land and other circumstances favor.
Those I refer to come chiefly from the counties of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester.