Echos from a Colonial Garden: Asparagus



The first friendly face in the colonial American garden was the perennial favorite – asparagus. Brought over from England by the earliest settlers, asparagus was an early and much welcome fresh addition to the 18th century dinner table in the spring.

asparagus1 Echos from a Colonial Garden: Asparagus

The three colors of asparagus.

The asparagus is already growing tall in the raised bed garden at colonial Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village where I serve as a historical presenter. You can see that many of the plants have been allowed to grow tall and go to seed to insure a great crop of this perennial veggie in the next year.

asparagus at daggett Echos from a Colonial Garden: Asparagus

Asparagus growing in May at Daggett Farm.

Anna Daggett, wife of Samuel Daggett who built the farmhouse, had responsibility for maintaining a garden large enough to raise vegetables to feed the family all year round. Even though everyone was glad to see asparagus, the early and popular vegetable, only a small portion of the asparagus harvest would be on the dinner table in spring.

Most of the crop was pickled to preserve it for eating later during the rest of the year when asparagus wasn’t in season. That’s because the season for asparagus is really short, typically from May to June both in England, where this vegetable originated, and here in America.

But what made it to the table as fresh would have been a great treat served up from a colonial garden in a tasty recipe like the two shared in this cooking video from the folks at Jas. Townsend & Son, providers of 18th century clothing and goods -

What’s your favorite way to prepare asparagus?

Fresh Baked Bread from the Hearth at Daggett Farm



This past week was my first as a historical presenter at Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village. What an experience to live a few days in 1760 and share that experience with visitors who stopped by. There’s so much to learn about life during this time in colonial America but I think what stood out right from the start is how important the hearth is.

This over-sized fireplace may not look like much to you but in 18th century America, it provided light and energy for heating the house and cooking.

Being a “one picture worth a thousand words” kind of person, I realized how much I take modern conveniences for granted when Joan (one of the longtime presenters at Daggett Farm) taught me how to make a …

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Dressing for Success at Daggett Farm



As I announced recently here on Extreme Ancestry, I’m getting ready for my new role as a historical presenter at Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford museum, Dearborn, Michigan. There’s some serious preparation for this experience and that includes being dressed for success by Katie at the Greenfield Village Studio – the museum’s amazing period clothing shop.

Everything you see at the Daggett Farm is historically correct to the food being cooked, the furniture you see and how the reenactors are dressed. That’s why experts like Katie are on hand to help dress the men and women at the farm so visitors feel like they walked back in time.

So when I …

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My Chance to Reenact 18th Century History at Daggett Farm



I’ve loved history and, especially American history, my whole life. And for almost 40 years I’ve done genealogy – piecing together what’s  turned out to be a fascinating and diverse collection of ancestors going back to the earliest days of this country. But up until now, my journey back through time has been mostly via the Internet, books, historical documents and old photos.

That’s about to change. For the first time, I get to reach out and touch history in a very unique way in my new role as a historical presenter at the Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.

The Daggett Farm is a working farm from 18th century colonial Connecticut that reflects the Puritan lifestyle of …

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Fearless Females: Best Friends Forever



As a genealogist, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years focused on family. But for generations, women have expanded their families with an important addition – their best friends. My mother, Alice Vivian Batchelor, taught me by example about the extraordinary value of best friends.

Her best friend was Sitella Glenn and she and Mom were BFFs for well over 40 years. Here’s a picture of them back in the day – Mom in the big hat and Sitella on the right with the beautiful smile.

These two friends met through their husbands when Sitella had moved to Detroit from Cuba after she got married. What initially brought Mom and Sitella together was their love of Spanish. My mother had studied Spanish in college and …

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