The virtues of Camelina: Hot topic of the week in rural New York, 1864
It's 2019 and Camelina has come a long way since 1864 when the many virtues of the crop were reviewed in a local newspaper from upstate New York.
With the exception of the question of rancidity - since unlike flax, Camelina is loaded with tocopherols and shows excellent oxidative stability - we see that this high Omega crop is presented then with many of the same intriguing elements as researchers are finding in it today.
So here, among the many important contemporary Agricultural Topics in Moore’s Rural New Yorker (Rochester) for the week ending Saturday September 3, 1864, is the question of the present value of Camelina sativa:
Alonzo Hendrick writes: — “I send you, herewith, some yellow seed or false flax. Is it worth anything in market. I have often heard it said it was worth as much as flax seed for oil; but whether it is like tory burrs in wool, I do not know. One man said he had made much money by them, because they brought as much as the wool. I do not know the botanical name of this plant, but it will probably produce ten seeds to one of flax. Will a screen to separate flax from all other seeds, be an invention that will pay?” This plant is Camelina sativa — Gold-of-pleasure. It is cultivated in Europe — is a common crop there in many localities — for its seed, which is manufactured into oil. The oil is sweet, and said to be eatable, when fresh, but is apt to become rancid. It burns well and freezes with difficulty. This crop is sown in the Spring, but may be deferred till June in countries having a warm, dry autumn. MORTON says: – Three months ripen it in such districts. It is sown broadcast at the rate of about four pounds per acre, and is harvested when the seed pods begin to turn yellow. If too ripe, it is apt to shell. It is said to prefer good wheat land; but it is found to pay on the Continent, on inferior, sandy soils. In England, the crop is averaged at from three to four quarters per acre, and sells for forty shillings per quarter.”
Moore’s Rural New Yorker, An Original Weekly, Rural, Literary and Family Newspaper, Conducted by DDT Moore, with Assoc Editor Charles Bragdon and Henry S. Randall LLD as Editor of the Department of Sheep Husbandry, also carries a weekly News Condenser (in this issue on p 290) with news tidbits from around the nation and around the world.
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