Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vilmorin's Vegetable Garden of My Dreams

The days grow colder, shadows lengthen, and roots burrow deeper into the land, swaddling themselves in ever thicker layers. The carrots are so cold they turn pale and begin to shiver like leeks. The turnip puffs its cheeks out with cold breaths. Only the beet manages to keep itself warm with wine-dark passion.

Auntie Rutabaga knits green caps for herself and her soil mates, and makes a jaunty violet affair for poor Tiny Turnip. Old Man Celery has lost his color and his beard tickles the cheeks of the squeaking new potatoes. Purple Cabbage has a cold; she wraps her ashen face in insulating folds. It is freezing frozen, so cold in the ground, they say. Dig us up and put us somewhere warm.

Here are some vegetable fantasies to fuel your holiday dreaming. Taschen has reissued Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden (1850-1895), featuring color plates and illustrations from the catalog of the French seed company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie, which was founded in 1766.

If you are seeking more of an Americana feel to your vegetable musings, check out an old Burpee's catalog. You can usually find a couple at used bookstores.

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