This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V29", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Garden having stated that the American cranberry, " when cooked, is said to be very palatable," and DeCondolle, in his "Origin of Cultivated Plants," that "the United States, in spite of their vast territory, which will soon support hundreds of millions of inhabitants, only yields, as nutritious plants worth cultivating, the Jerusalem Artichoke and the Gourds," Prof. L. H. Bailey Jr., Michigan Agricultural College, enters the arena with the following cudgel in his hand:
"The cranberry is a very popular fruit in America. Especially will you appreciate this when you take into consideration the fact that thousands of acres of wild cranberry marsh are annually picked over and the products sold or used for home consumption. Of course, we never eat the cranberry raw. Its principal use is for sauces and pies. Its aromatic, rich acid is refreshing and wholesome. A considerable portion of the crop is now exported to England.
It is surprising how independent we Americans are in this matter of fruit. Nature has dealt liberally with as. It is only thirty years ago that the cranberry was known only in a wild state; now it is much improved, and several good varieties have been produced and are now in cultivation. Fifty years ago our wild strawberry was scarcely known to cultivation; now every valuable variety of our gardens is a product of our wild species, Fragaria virginiana and its var. Illinoensis. It is only the amateur who now grows Jucunda and Triomphe de Gand, of European origin. Along our northern borders the European Fragaria vesca grows wild, but it attracts no attention from the horticulturist. All our grapes of out-door culture - and that is the almost universal culture in this country - are products of our wild species. A few varieties, as the Rogers hybrids, are crosses between our own species and the European. Only three of our wild varieties have yet been ameliorated to any extent; while nine or ten more species are waiting to be taken in hand by the cultivator. Two species of raspberry, the black and the red (Rubus occidentalis and R. strigosus), wild in all our woods, have given us the numerous varieties of our gardens and markets. The European sorts are grown only by amateurs.
Our blackberries and dewberries, fruits of bright promise, are offspring of the Rubus villosus of all our copses. Our best gooseberries are also of American origin. Of course, these gooseberries are by no means equal to the great luscious fruits of your English gardens, but they are the only ones which can be profitably grown here. At the present time our native plums are receiving much attention, and already a score of varieties are in the market. Twenty distinct wild species of Prunus are found in the United States".