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 Civil War Era Food History: Cow Cavalry
“Small militia groups were formed to protect the inner part of Florida. These units were mostly made up of ranchers and cowhands. They were called the “Cow Cavalry.” Small numbers of Union soldiers would hold cavalry raids in south Florida to capture cattle. The Union Navy would also conduct raids along the coast trying to destroy the salt work plants. It was the mission of the cow cavalry to protect the cattle ranches, salt works, and small towns of south Florida.
Numerous small battles occurred as the groups met, but most battles were never documented. Florida’s greatest contribution to the war, besides the 5,000 Floridian men who fought, was food supplies. Florida sent beef, pork, fish, and fruit to the Confederate troops. A vital part of the Confederate strategy was to keep Florida’s inland roads and rivers protected so that the supplies could get safely northward. The soldiers of the “Cow Calvary” helped keep the Confederate army supplied with food from Florida.” (source)
IN MEMORY COW CAVALRY CO. B 1ST BATTALION FL. SPECIAL CAVALRY C.S.A. 1863 - 1865 ERECTED BY PLANT CITY CHAPTER #1931 UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY NOVEMBER 17, 2007
“By 1863 the Confederate army was suffering severe food shortages. Capt. John T. Lesley was commissioned to recruit from Ichepuckssa (cork area of Plant City) a company of pioneer men to round up and drive the wild cattle of Florida north to the railroad stations. Many were too young or too old for regular military service. With great effort, along with 8 other companies in Florida, these men successfully completed their mission overseeing drives as far north as Charleston.”
Florida Civil War Era Food History: Saltworks
“Florida’s major contribution to the Confederate war effort was feeding the south. A key commodity that Floridians produced was salt, which was necessary to preserve meat. Salt-making along Florida’s Gulf coast involved boiling seawater in large kettles or containers to evaporate the water and collect the salt.” (source)
Florida Statehood & Confederacy Food History: Introduction
“Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845. William D. Moseley was elected the new state’s first governor, and David Levy Yulee, one of Florida’s leading proponents for statehood, became a U.S. Senator. By 1850 the population had grown to 87,445, including about 39,000 African American slaves and 1,000 free blacks.
The slavery issue began to dominate the affairs of the new state. Most Florida voters—who were white males, ages twenty-one years or older—did not oppose slavery. However, they were concerned about the growing feeling against it in the North, and during the 1850s they viewed the new anti-slavery Republican party with suspicion. In the 1860 presidential election, no Floridians voted for Abraham Lincoln, although this Illinois Republican won at the national level.
Shortly after his election, a special convention drew up an ordinance that allowed Florida to secede from the Union on January 10, 1861. Within several weeks, Florida joined other southern states to form the Confederate States of America.” (source)
This is a picture of “Aunt” Dollie Natiel. She was one of David Yulee’s slaves. Born in 1865 at the Yulee Sugar Plantation near Homosassa Springs in Florida. She lived until about 1940. (source)
Florida Food Heritage Site: Yulee Sugar Plantation and Mill (1821-1861)
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park is a Florida State Park located in Homosassa, off U.S. 19. It contains the ruins of a sugar plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. The original plantation covered more than 5,000 acres (20 km²), and was worked by approximately 1,000 enslaved African Americans. They raised sugar cane, citrus, and cotton. The mill (which was steam-driven) ran from 1851 to 1864. It produced sugar, syrup and molasses, the latter used in making rum. (source and photo)
Florida Statehood & Confederacy Era Food History: Father of Florida Railways
“David Levy Yulee dreamed of a railroad that would connect Fernandina Beach, on the east coast of Florida, to Cedar Key on the west coast. It took from 1844 until 1861 to see his dream come true. His Florida Railroad Company built a 155 mile track connecting both of Florida’s coasts. Train stations encouraged flourishing towns along the line by bringing tourists to Florida and by shipping produce and timber to markets in the north.” (source)
After his release from confinement, Yulee rebuilt the Yulee Railroad, which had been destroyed by warfare. He served as president of the Florida Railroad Company from 1853 to 1866, as well as president of the Peninsular Railroad Company, Tropical Florida Railway Company, and Fernandina and Jacksonville Railroad Company. His development of the railroads was his most important achievement and contribution to the state of Florida. He was called the “Father of Florida Railroads”. His leadership helped bring increased economic development to the state, including the late nineteenth-century tourist trade. In 1870 Yulee hosted President Ulysses S. Grant in Fernandina. (source)
Miami Club Rum is the Hometown Spirit of Miami!
Hand-crafted in Miami’s first distillery, Miami Club Rum is made by artisans with a family history of rum production that dates back 5 generations! Our distillers utilize South Florida sugarcane and other superior local ingredients right here in Miami to create a smooth and ‘Ultimately Mixable’ rum experience.
Second Spanish Florida Era (1784-1821) Food History: Kingsley Plantation
“When the British evacuated Florida, Spanish colonists as well as settlers from the newly formed United States came pouring in. Many of the new residents (see Zephaniah Kingsley below) were lured by favorable Spanish terms for acquiring property, called land grants. Others who came were escaped slaves, trying to reach a place where their U.S. masters had no authority and effectively could not reach them. Instead of becoming more Spanish, the two Floridas increasingly became more “American.” Finally, after several official and unofficial U.S. military expeditions into the territory, Spain formally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821, according to terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty.” (source)
“Zephaniah Kingsley moved to Florida in 1803 and began buying land and slaves. In 1810, he purchased Fort George Island, including its cotton and indigo plantation located on the island’s north end that was originally built by John McQueen. Also at this time, Kingsley purchased a young woman from Jolof, Senegambia, named Anta Mujigeen Ndiaye, whom he then freed and made his wife: Anna Kingsley.
Together they managed the affairs of what has become known as Kingsley Plantation. Since the Kingsleys, the plantation has gone through several incarnations: a social club, a tourist attraction, a state park, and finally, a National Historic Site. It boasts the oldest surviving plantation in the state, as well as one of the most complete slave cabin complexes in the nation.” (source)
Kitchen and main residence at Kingsley Plantation State Historic Site: Fort George Island, Florida The kitchen was often called the John “Don Juan” McQueen house, after the person who first built Kingsley Plantation. It was later called the Anna Jai (Anna Kingsley) house, after Kingsley’s wife. The kitchen building’s foundation was made of tabby.
British Florida Food History: Andrew Turnbull’s New Smyrna Colony
“The New Smyrna settlement was the product of British attempts to populate Florida with colonists who would benefit the Crown. Britain had obtained Florida and the Mediterranean island of Minorca from Spain in 1763, following a global war involving several European powers. Britain’s desire to colonize Florida was spurred by the need to offset her costly dependence on imported commodities such as indigo, silk, cotton, rice, cochineal, wine, and oil.
To encourage agricultural development, land grants were offered to prospective plantation owners at easy terms, and financial rewards were bestowed if planters grew cash crops for export to England. Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish-born physician and wealthy member of London society, was one who accepted the challenge. For workers he turned to the island of Minorca, where a three-year crop failure had left many farmers destitute. He was able to recruit about 1,100 Minorcans as indentured servants and added 200 more laborers from Greece and about 100 from Italy, France, Corsica, and Turkey. The colony experienced a cycle of bad and good years during its short history. The end of the New Smyrna colony came in 1777 when the plantation was virtually abandoned by most of the surviving colonists who fled to the safety and security of St. Augustine.
Turnbull raised cattle and grew rice, corn, sugar, hemp, cochineal (a native parasite of the prickly pear cactus that was used to manufacture a red dye), and cotton.” (Continue more here.)