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Where In The World Our Food Comes From

Updated on September 19, 2012
A bunch of veggies
A bunch of veggies | Source

Most of us don’t think much about the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that, we in America, buy at the local grocery store. We just know it’s usually there and available. Here in California, which holds the distinction as the “salad bowl of the world”, produces the around 3/4th of the world vegetables. But there are so many fruits, vegetable and nuts that are grown in America that we take for granted that they were always here. We don’t stop to realize that there are so many of them are originated from all over the world. So, here are a few that have interesting origins.


1. Peanuts come from Peru. They were used as aids in the afterlife for the Incans.

2. Pistachios come from Persia (Iran). In China they are known as the “Happy Nut”; they are even mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11).

3. Almonds come from the Middle East & South Asia and are transplanted to California where they are grown reguarly, along with other produce. They are one of the earliest foods that were ever cultivated.

4. Walnuts come from Persian (walnut is from Germanic/ Old English meaning “foreign nut”).

5. Chestnuts come from Sardis, Asia Minor.

6. Cashews come from South America.


1. Apples come from Asia (Kazakhstan). It is said that they were found by Alexander the Great in 323 BCE.

2. Lemons come from China. Introduced to Europe in 1st century and then introduced to the New World by Christopher Columbus. 1493.

3. Limes come from India.

4. Oranges come from Indochina.

5. Strawberries come from France 18th century. They are the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside of the fruit instead of the inside.

6. Kiwis from China; known as Chinese Gooseberries.


1. Corn comes from Mesoamerican countries. It is known as Maize. Native American corn is blue.

2. Eggplant is from India. The name comes from early American versions that were light-colored and resembled goose or hen eggs.

3. Potatoes are from Peru and introduced to Europe by Spanish sailors returning from the New World. In the 16th century, they were used to feed the Spanish armies across Europe. The locals turned to planting them and they were not stolen as much as grain was in raiding by bandits.

4. Celery is Mediterranean. They were found in garlands in King Tutankhamen’s tomb (died 1323 BCE), and mentioned to be in a cave on Calypso’s island in The Odyssey.

5. Carrots are from Indo-European (Iran and Afghanistan). Originally they weren’t the well known orange color; they were white, purple, and a host of other colors, except orange. (The Dutch were the ones who developed that color for carrots, supposedly in honor of the royal family of Orange.)

6. Tomatoes (which are actually fruit) are from South America. The name from the word, “tomatl” meaning “swollen fruit.”

There is plenty of other fruits, vegetables and nuts out there with different and interesting origins. I thought it would be interesting to know where some of the food we eat came from. This is a way that we can, not only appreciate the food we eat, but understand how food has shaped the world we live in. Food doesn’t just come from the store; they come from all over the world and give us as much history as it does sustenance.


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