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Rhubarb: The pioneers’ pie plant

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

 Rhubarb was first cultivated in China in pre-medieval times and eventually was traded along the famous Silk Road to Russia and most of Europe. From there, settlers brought it to the New World, tucked in among other roots and seeds destined for new homesteads. As the frontier expanded westward, pioneers dug up chunks of their plants’ roots, wrapped them in burlap sacking, and brought the plants with them. Back in those days, rhubarb was known as “pie plant.” As sparse as foods were back in the 18th and 19th centuries, rhubarb was much valued and passed from one family member to another, one friend or neighbor to the next. Continue reading Rhubarb: The pioneers’ pie plant