Kitchen Garden All Year Round

Vintage refrigerator housewife1950s

Thanks to war-time research and  American know how, growing up in suburban mid-century America  I would be the happy recipient of a veritable bushel basket of sun-kissed, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.

No other country we were told  “has the good fortune to enjoy such a varied, appealing and wholesome diet”.

And no, we did not have a plethora of farmer’s markets, green grocers or organic community food co-ops; in fact today’s locavore movement- the notion of eating what is produced locally local and shunning what isn’t – would have been laughed at.

Most of the farm fresh goodness I would experience came courtesy of Birds Eye Farms ( quick frozen for quick serving) and the verdant  Valley of The Green Giant

No matter the season, I could always enjoy cans and boxes of good tasting, fresh-from-the-pesticide-sprayed farm flavor of fruits and vegetables.


Old McDonald had A Suburban Farm

Vintage illustration childrens text book on the farm

(L)Happy days on the farm vintage children’s book illustration from “On Cherry Street” Ginn Basic reader 1950s (R) Vintage ad- Snow Crop Frozen Vegetables Country Fair 1957

 Quick frozen or in cans, dried or powdered, when it came to fruits and vegetables it was like having a farm in your own back yard, which funny enough I did.

Like so many other housing developments of the time, my ranch house sprouted up on what had once been one of hundreds of potato farms that dotted Long Island.

The original farmer, Mr Gutztsky who looked remarkably like Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo, held on to a small plot of his original farm so that in fact for many years instead of rows of split levels houses, there was an actual working farm behind us.

For a while there were the early morning rooster alarm clock, the stray clucking chickens in the backyard and even a horse poking his nose in an open bedroom window.

Whatever connection of being back to the earth my city-bred parents originally  felt, was in just a few short years, eventually  totally bulldozed away when farmer/businessman  Gutzsky sold the last of his acreage to developers.

Better n’ Fresh

vintage ad Mr &Mrs Potato Head toys

Actually preparing fresh vegetables seemed as out of date as the horse-drawn plow used on the farm we usurped.

Why bother boiling and peeling and mashing those plentiful local Long Island  potatoes when Instant dehydrated flakes were so much easier.

But the abundance of all those local russet potatoes did not go to waste.

They came in darn handy in creating an extended family for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, with plenty o’ little tater tots to go around.

 A Ripe Idea


cinderella fairy godmother illustration

It’s Magic! L) Vintage Illustration Fairy Godmother Cinderella Walt Disney

Naturally from time to time, we did enjoyed the wholesome goodness of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from Mother Nature herself. The produce section had been set free of the tyranny of the seasons and become global in its choices.

Even with the proper refrigeration  the problem with these gold mines of health was that they were always so gosh darn perishable, but once again American scientists came to the rescue.

Why wait for lazy Mother Nature – when miracle sprays would force all the fruit to ripen and like magic, change color at once.

In this new, fast-paced jet-age, who had time to wait for vine ripened tomatoes?

Why wait till the end of summer, when with a healthy splash of ethylene gas those rock hard green tomatoes of yesterday suddenly would become today’s garish red ones, conveniently packed in styrephone trays encased in plastic, just ripe for tossin’ in the salad.

 Safeguarding Democracy

vintage ads food cellophane and coverings

“Safeguarding the delicate natural flavor and goodness of many tree and vine ripened fruits and vegetables is made possible by Food Machinery Corp.’s Flavorseal process.” explains this (L) ad from 1948 “Protected by a thin wax like film these fresh grown products stay fresher and wholesome longer.” Just in time to be hermetically sealed in DuPont Cellophane wrapping. (R) Vintage ad DuPont 1957

 It was a Post War Promise kept – “You can have fresh fruits and vegetables tonight…..even if the calendar says no.

The reason- Flavorseal protection.

Developed by research scientists, Flavorseal was a solution which was sprayed in a thin waxy film over the surface of freshly harvested citrus fruit, tomatoes, cucumbers and other produce helping the products stay fresh and wholesome longer for your enjoyment.

Flavorseal, they boasted, slowed down the natural deterioration of the fruit or vegetable…preserves its original freshness flavor for many extra days or even weeks!

More food to eat- less to throw away.

Was My Face Red

vintage ads Pliofilm vegetables 1940s

“Wilt? I wilt- Not says this lettuce even after 30 days!” announced this 1944 ad for Goodyears Pliofilm. (R) Vintage ad 1944 Goodyear Pliofilm

Food could be kept fresh from the vine for months.

Believe it or not the ad claims this gorgeous red ripe tomato was picked ripe from the vine 30 long days ago!

Harvest wrapped in Goodyears miracle wrap Pliofilm– “a marvelous new transparent moistureproof, spoilageproof wrapping material that seals in natures goodness and seals out natures gremlins. ”

To drive home the point  Goodyear boasted that tests made by the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station proved that “Pliofilm has a way with fruits and vegetables that lets them keep their natural goodness, flavor color and vitamins for weeks and even months after ripening.”

And toss those ripe tomatoes in wilt-proof lettuce. Imagine lettuce, we are enticed: “keeping its head– and its crispness, and color and flavor- for 30 days after leaving the garden” thanks to Pliofilm.

Yes, it was always harvest time in our household, no matter the season. And thanks to science, it was not just canned and frozen vegetables and fruits- but fresh, rot-resistant tomatoes, fresh frost resistant strawberries year ‘round!

The future of good nourishment was well protected!

Copyright (©) 20014 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved




  1. Pingback: Victory Gardens | Envisioning The American Dream

  2. Pingback: Victory Gardens in WWII | Envisioning The American Dream

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