A look back at gard´ns
This is the time of year when home-produced foods are most plentiful. Many years ago in Hartselle mule-pulled wagons would come through the streets with freshly harvested produce – leading to some of the tastiest meals to be found anywhere! Most of the items below date from 1909-10, two of the most prosperous years in Hartselle’s early years.
July 17, 1896 – For those who love fresh raspberries, farmer Jerry Anderson is the man to see. Mr. Anderson has a berry patch which is unrivaled in the quality of the fruit it yields. So popular is it among townspeople that Jerry expects to make about $300 off a trifle over an acre of land covered with raspberries.
July 29, 1901 – Muscadines are now ripe and are more delicious than ever. It is evident that the muscadines are ripe when they are sweet on the tongue and are fully colored. Many housewives will use the muscadines they are able to obtain to make jams and preserves. (In “wet” areas muscadine wine is very popular.)
June 1, 1909 – Several crates of early peaches have been shipped from Hartselle this week. These peaches generally come in three weeks ahead of the Elbertas. The Elberta crop here this season will be the largest in the history of local peach orchards. The strawberry crop has been on for the past month and the vines are still blooming, giving every promise of a bountiful crop.
June 16, 1909 – Another carload of Irish potatoes is being loaded and will be shipped from here today. The farmers of this section are thrilled with the huge cabbage and potato shipments this season and it is expected that several more carloads of these important food products will go out before it is over. Two pretty days here have inspired the farmers to action again after a week’s wet weather and Hartselle is very quiet today, all the farmers being at work.
July 4, 1909 – A week of good weather has given the planters new hope and inspiration, and as a result Hartselle has been practically deserted this week by farmers. Crops have come out wonderfully during the week and planting is still going on. Much land is being sown in peas. Many housewives prepare a hot vegetable dish combining peas and carrots.
July 9, 1909 – The crop of Elberta peaches is now coming to the market here in abundance. Many are sold directly to housewives from wagons or to local grocers. Most, however (something like 50,000 crates) will be commercially canned by dealers as far away as Detroit, Mich. Two of the largest orchards in this area have been sold to canneries in the north.
July 10, 1910 – The farmers of this section are smiling because they expect to sell about $280,000 worth of corn and meats (plus oats and meal) this season. Consumers who love corn on the are delighted that, with the present outlook for this year’s crop, far more corn will be harvested here this season than for the two years past. This translates into a low price for one of the most popular items on the dinner table.
July 23, 1910 – Prominent Hartselle banker A. E. Jackson has given this town some excellent publicity through the medium of the Birmingham press. He told an interviewer that, “Hartselle is growing very satisfactorily. The town is in one of the finest sections of the Tennessee valley, which section is populated with some of the best farmers in north Alabama. Some of the finest Elberta peaches are grown in Morgan County, especially in the vicinity of Hartselle. The produce trade at Hartselle is perhaps the largest of any town of the same size in the state.”