Since the inception of technology and the internet, our way of life has been changing rapidly. It’s the era of shopping through the internet and curbside pickups. Some of us rarely have time to even go to the grocery store anymore. But before all of the modernization, there used to be a time when people actually went to farms, witnessed how foods were grown and then bought them. The first grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, and the first supermarket in the United States was opened by a former Kroger employee, Michael J. Cullen, on August 4, 1930.
We know that foods such as apples and oranges grow on trees. Grapes on the other hand grow on a vine. But what about other foods that we consume every day? Have you ever wondered where vanilla comes from? Well, we are going to answer those questions today with these 12 photos that show how foods are grown in real-life.
Dates are often called nature’s candy. Unlike raisins, they are not desired by many in the US but are widely popular in Asia. They are widely used to make desserts and other delicious recipes. For those of you who have never given any thought to this fruit’s origin, the answer may surprise you.
Dates originate at the top of palm trees. Contrary to popular belief, not all palm trees grow coconuts. The date palm produces thousands of dates underneath the palm’s fronds. Date palms can be founds in California and Florida but they are famous in the Middle East where dates are considered a staple food. In order to harvest them when they are ripe enough, farmers usually have to make a 75 foot climb and do it the old fashioned way.
2. Sesame seeds
Sesame is produced in a desert setting, which is why they are known as dry-tolerant. The tropical plant grows to about 60cm (24″) tall and is harvested at the end of August. Although small in size, the seeds are packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, calcium, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
Pistachios are nuts that are favored by millions around the world. Not only are they the lowest calorie of all the nuts, they are also known to contain antioxidants, unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber and much more. The trees live for a long time and yield up to 20 lbs. of pistachios once they reach maturity. More than 550 million pounds of pistachios are grown in California every year, making the U.S. the second leading producer of pistachios.
4. Vanilla Bean
Unlike vanilla extract, vanilla beans are a bit more expensive since they are used in flavoring and scenting baked goods. Each pod is filled with thousands of little brown flavorful specks. The long, thin pod is actually the fruit of one variety of orchid.
Pure vanilla is relatively expensive due to the labor-intensive harvesting process which is very time-consuming. When the pods are taken off the plants, they have no flavor or scent. Once removed, they have to be dipped in boiling water and then dried in the sun for about 20 days. They are then air dried for about 4-6 months to achieve the desired flavor and aroma.
5. Kiwi Fruit
The attractive, sweet fruit is produced mostly in California and New Zealand but can also be grown in places with mild winters. Growing kiwi is quite a tricky process. The vines require plenty of space because each vine can spread out as far as 20 feet.
The fruits are packed with a lot of flavor and plenty of health benefits. They are full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and potassium. A study conducted in 2000 found that the fruit had beneficial effects on the lung function with people who consumed it regularly.
Many people are surprised to learn that peanuts are not grown on trees like walnuts or pecans. While they are called peanuts, they are not actually nuts; but legumes. Peanut plants grow in an unusual way because the plant flowers above the ground while the peanuts grow below the ground.
They are removed from the ground with the help of special machinery and then left out to dry for days. Peanuts are graded depending on the quality of the produce. Each plant produces about 40 or more peanuts per yield.
7. Papaya Fruit
Although big tropical papaya fruits look like they would come from a jungle vine, they are actually grown in large plants. The plants have a similar appearance to palm trees but do not grow as tall. Papaya trees are abundant in Asia and the fruits actually grow out of the sides of the tree instead of its leaves or branches. The fronds grow above the trunk and provide canopy. The plant yields fruits every 10 months and can live for a very long time. Those who live in a tropical area can enjoy this fruit all year round since they can grow it in their backyard.
Cashew trees are closely related to mango and pistachio trees. The plant originated from northeastern parts of Brazil but was transported to the other parts of the world thanks to Portuguese explorers. It is very popular and often cultivated in India, Vietnam and Africa.
The trees can reach 20 to 46 feet in height and the cashew nuts are the “true” fruit of the cashew trees. Each cashew nut is located on the bottom of the “false” fruit called cashew apple. While the plant originated from Brazil, today Nigeria is the greatest producer of cashew nuts in the world with more than 1.9 metric tons of cashew nuts annually.
Saffron is an ancient spice that has been used for over 3,000 years. Even then, they came with an expensive price tag because of the difficulty of growing saffron plants. The spice comes from a flowering crocus and is the dried red stigmas of the flower.
The expensive price tags on the spice is due to the fact that each flower only produces 3 stigmas for a period of about 7 days in a year. This is why saffron is considered as one of the most valuable spices on Earth.
It’s a common misconception that pineapples are grown on tropical fruit trees but they are actually grown in a relatively low-lying plant that grows about 3-5 ft in height. The fruits first start out as clusters of up to 200 flowers or more and within a couple of weeks, merge together to form into the delicious fruit that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Cranberry is an evergreen woody plant that behaves like a vine. Each plant can reach up to 7 feet long and 2 to 8 inches in height. The flowers consist of pink petals oriented backwards and only last for about 10 to 12 days. Their main objective is to attract bees, who are the main pollinators of this plant.
Cranberries do not grow in the water but farmers usually flood it before the harvest to make it easier for them. They are good source of dietary fibers, vitamin C and manganese.
Cinnamon is a spice that has been considered precious for centuries. While we see them in powdered form and as sticks, not many of us are aware of how they originate. The ones we see in both powdered form and sticks which are inside those tiny glass bottles are in fact the inner bark of a tree in the Cinnamomum family.
The inner barks are cut every two seasons and eventually grow back before the next harvest. After the inner barks are removed or peeled away, they are cut into the sticks or made into powder that reach the shelves of your local supermarket.