[Sca-cooks] Potatoes in Europe was Re: Four queries

James Prescott prescotj at telusplanet.net
Fri Jul 13 10:41:26 PDT 2012

Again, many thanks.

The article from Crop Science is available online at: 


At 2:35 PM -0500 7/10/12, Terry Decker wrote:
>  When I originally wrote about the bill of lading I hadn't seen it. 
> I have since been gifted with further information including a 
> facsimile and a transcription and translation of the particular 
> line.
>  The bill of lading is for goods shipped by Juan de Molina from Las 
> Palmas in the Canaries to his brother, Luis de Quesada, in Antwerp. 
> The original is in the archives of the public notary, Lorenzo 
> Palenzuela, dated 28 November 1567 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 
> It reads, "`Y asi mismo recibo tres barriles medianos [que] decis 
> Ileven patatas y naranjas e lemones berdes". Which translates as, 
> "And also three medium-sized barrels [which] you state contain 
> potatoes and oranges and green lemons".  Linguistic notes state 
> that "papas" and "patatas" are contemporary references to white 
> potatoes in the Canaries, while the sweet potato is still "batata."
>  So, not only do we have potatoes being sent to Antwerp, but also 
> oranges and green lemons (limes?)
>  There is also a bill of lading reference to two barrels of potatoes 
> and 8 barrels of brandy being shipped to Rouen in Apr. 1574 
> (archives of public notary Luis de Balboa).
>  The speculation is the potatoes were being grown in the Canaries by 
> 1562 and possibly earlier, but they weren't being grown in mainland 
> Spain, thus were not observed by Clusius in 1564.  Subspecies found 
> in the Canaries are S. andigena (Andean origin, but grown in 
> Europe), S. tuberosum (European hybrid) and S. chaucha (a South 
> American varietal not grown in Europe outside of plant collections, 
> therefore almost assuredly a direct SA transplant).

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