Vegetable man brings produce
Many early settlers along Wyoming rivers and streams were farmers from the Midwest, accustomed to growing crops rather than raising hay and grazing sheep and cattle. Nearly each town had a “Vegetable Man” who attempted to supply fresh produce to locals.
The following article was obtained from the Aug. 15, 1902 issue of the Grand Encampment Herald and brought to you courtesy of Grandma’s Cabin, a historic group in Encampment, who is preserving history while serving the community. The news item, in part, follows:
“The local vegetable man is a daily caller at nearly every home in Grand Encampment, supplying the people with the finest fruits from his vegetable gardens.
“At present, more than six acres of land is blossoming with an abundance of choice vegetables fit for the table of a king. Early in June the radish harvest commenced and continued throughout the entire summer and fall, the planting at regular intervals of time having assured a steady crop of choice varieties for about four months.
“Before the close of June, ‘The Vegetable Man’ had lettuce for the market, and at this time he brings a large variety of vegetables on his daily trips to the city.
“The gardens contain beds of radishes, lettuce, cabbage, beans, peas, turnips, parsley, spinach, pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers, beets, celery, potatoes, etc. Every bed or patch is fresh and green and growing under the most favorable circumstances. The raising of celery is a new venture, but at this time the beds look well and give promise of a fine crop.
“The cabbage patches are well advanced and will give a handsome yield. During the last season several heads weighing 13 pounds each were raised on this ground.
“Mr. Vegetable Man is one of the few ranchers in this country who grows his crops by the system of sub-irrigation. This fact may not be generally known, but he does not irrigate his gardens by turning water onto the surface of the ground. The one large canal from the South Fork of the Encampment River carries a stream of water through the gardens, and in the center is built a pond or reservoir. From the canal and pond, the water seeps into the ground on either side, keeping it under proper moisture for the steady and vigorous growth of the garden. One small patch of potatoes bas been irrigated in the regular way, but the patch is not a part of the main gardens.
“Vegetable gardening in Wyoming is profitable. Last season, the farmer harvested 35 tons of vegetables from his gardens and realized a handsome sum of money for the same.”