Why is it called Detroit Red? Beets me!
Now that we've gotten that pun out of the way, allow me to explain: Not that I have a green thumb or anything, but I was recently helping my mother with her garden and noticed something new on her to-grow list this year: the Detroit Red Beet.
Now, I don't consider myself to be a picky eater but beets are one vegetable I typically pass on. However, I'm curious to know about anything and everything having to do with Michigan, so I began to wonder why this popular root vegetable was named after the Motor City. Here's what I found:
D.M. Ferry & Company
During my research I learned that Michigan once had a booming seed production industry! According to the Henry Ford Museum,
Before the automobile, Detroit had a diversified industrial economy that included one of the world's leading seed production companies.
Dexter Mason Ferry founded D.M. Ferry & Company in 1879 and it was a major producer of high quality vegetable and garden seeds. The company had an 850 acre seed farm just north of Detroit in addition to five warehouses in the city that were used to germinate the seeds.
Many Michiganders have no clue that Detroit used to be such a well-known hub for vegetable seed activity-- I sure didn't!
The famous Motor City beet was first introduced by D.M. Ferry in 1892 and has been considered the standard for red beets ever since. Seriously.
This root vegetable is known for its blood-red color and sweet taste. Unlike other more well-known variations, Detroit Red Beets are know for the uniform smoothness, globular shape, and lack of the appearance of rings.
The vegetable takes about 58 days in total to mature, but in the meantime the green tops can be harvested early and used for salad greens much like a chard. These beets are also perfect for pickling, canning, and freezing.
Have you ever heard of the Detroit Red Beet or grown it yourself?