A must-see, must-taste, must-experience edible, historical, food extravaganza, all Florida, all the time. A product of The FOOD Museum. For the Archives, please click the file folder icon at right.
Florida Cattle History: Cow Hunters Bunkhouse
“Florida’s cattlemen preferred to be called cow hunters rather than cowboys. This Cow Hunter’s bunkhouse is typical of the small shelters once dotting the Florida wilderness. It provided lodging for the cow hunters as they crossed Florida rounding up their cattle.”
See this and other historic buildings at Manatee Village.
Florida Food Heritage Site: Wiggins General Store
King Wiggins built the store (1903) from bricks shipped in on the railroad. The store served the Town of Manatee. Upstairs, Wiggins operated a boarding house for visitors who came from miles away to shop in his store. (See more historic buildings at Manatee Village.)
Florida Food Heritage: Windover Archaeological Site
The remarkable state of preservation has allowed archaeologists to reconstruct some of the earliest New World diets based on contents from their stomachs and on scientific analysis.
For instance, a female about 35 years of age at death, was buried face down and still had remnants of her last meal in her stomach—fish scales and bones, seeds from grasses and berries, and bits of nuts. There were more than 3,000 elderberry seeds in her stomach. Elderberry extract has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of some viral infections, but we have no way of knowing if this woman had eaten the berries as a treatment, or if she merely liked elderberries and possibly died of acute indigestion from eating so many.
(learn more here)
Florida Citrus History: Freezes
“Dreams of easy money in the citrus industry came to an end for many during the great freeze of 1894 and 1895. Earlier freeze events, such as one in 1886, signaled a warning of things to come. In December 1894 and then again in February 1895, temperatures plummeted throughout the state. Many growers saw their investments crumble as frozen limbs snapped and fruit fell to the ground. Before the great freeze, Florida produced five million boxes of citrus. Production would not reach the five million figure again for almost two decades following the winter of 1894-95. With the memory of devastating freezes fresh, growers devised various methods to help trees and fruit resist the cold.”
Photo source and read more here.
Our chef…spent nine of his forty-three years with the Pennsylvania Railroad as chef on the celebrated all-Pullman New York-to-Florida train the Orange Blossom Special—the most luxurious winter-season train ever devised by man. Nothing even remotely resembling a can opener was allowed on the premises. All the pies, cakes, rolls, birthday cakes were baked on board under his supervision. Cut flowers and fresh fish were taken on at every revictualing stop, and the train carried thirty-five hundred dollars’ worth of wine, liquor and champagne—these at pre-Prohibition prices—for each run.
Florida Food History (1918-1945): Introduction
“Florida’s economic bubble burst in 1926, when money and credit ran out, and banks and investors abruptly stopped trusting the “paper” millionaires. Severe hurricanes swept through the state in the 1926 and 1928, further damaging Florida’s economy. By the time the Great Depression began in the rest of the nation in 1929, Floridians had already become accustomed to economic hardship. In 1929 the Mediterranean fruit fly invaded the state, and the citrus industry suffered. A quarantine was established, and troops set up roadblocks and checkpoints to search vehicles for any contraband citrus fruit. Florida’s citrus production was cut by about sixty percent. World War II spurred economic development in Florida. Because of its year-round mild climate, the state became a major training center for soldiers, sailors, and aviators of the United States and its allies. Highway and airport construction accelerated so that, by war’s end, Florida had an up-to-date transportation network ready for use by residents and the visitors who seemed to arrive in an endless stream.” (source)