thousand years ago our culinary and gardening ancestors began a
tradition that has come to be known as “seed saving.”
By replanting seeds from the foods they gathered from their crops,
they began a philosophy of preserving quality varieties that is
still upheld by gardeners of the 21st century.
Today, the development of a new garden located behind Lafitte’s
Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation carries on this “seed
saving” tradition by planting heirloom varieties of indigenous
Louisiana fruits and vegetables.
Heirloom vegetable varieties featured in the garden include the
Arkansas Traveler tomato, an old southern, heat-tolerant variety
that was bred in 1800. This particular strain fairs well in steamy
South Louisiana, setting fruit in high temperatures when others
drop blooms. It yields an abundant crop of reddish pink fruit rich
in flavor and full of juice.
Calabash tomato, with a distinctive wine flavor, along with the
Brandywine tomato, an Amish heirloom since 1885, will also be harvested.
The Brandywine features a creamy flesh, bursts of flavor and large
Additionally, a 100-year-old variety of Lemon cucumbers and Golden
Bantam corn grace the garden rows. Producing armloads of fruit the
color, size and shape of lemons, the cucumbers offer a mild, crunchy
texture and non-bitter skins. The sweet corn variety has been a
favorite since the beginning of the century, because it germinates
easily and with strong seedlings. Other heirloom garden varieties
include Rosa Bianca eggplant, Nickel French Filet bush beans and
Cushaw squash, a green and white striped skin variety with an orange
new garden is planted on ground that was once a two-story horse
and mule stable destroyed by fire in May 1913. As the land was tilled
and prepared for planting, the gardeners unearthed a bit of Donaldsonville’s
past. Landscapers discovered many bricks, nails and horseshoes in
their efforts to get the potager underway.
The garden is being created as the perfect place for outdoor events
including cocktail and hors d’oeuvre parties. The heirloom
fruits and vegetables will alter with the seasons, but you're always
sure to find the unique and exotic standing row by row.