The History of Food ‘Immigrants’ in America

The History of Food ‘Immigrants’ in America

Baskets of fruit at Farmers Market

'The Food Explorer' by Daniel Stone“Our foods are immigrants,” said author Daniel Stone as he spoke at Politics and Prose about his new book, The Food Explorer. As the true story unfolds, however, it becomes clear that many familiar foods were more accurately kidnap victims of pioneering food spy David Fairchild, at the turn of the 20th Century.

The Food Explorer is a biography of botanist David Fairchild (1869-1954), whose work largely shaped modern farming and food consumption in America. Packed with real-life adventure, Stone’s book is a fascinating read for both food lovers and history buffs.

Writers will also be interested in Stone’s research and writing process, which is discussed throughout his Politics and Prose talk and Q&A in the video below.

Daniel Stone discusses his book, “The Food Explorer”, at Politics and Prose on 2/24/18.

A botanist with an insatiable appetite for discovery, David Fairchild (1869-1954) worked as a plant explorer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and introduced more than 200,000 plants to the United States. His imports included new varieties of cotton and Japanese cherry trees, but his focus was food. In this lively biography, Stone, a staff writer for National Geographic and a veteran traveler himself, follows Fairchild’s footsteps through Europe, Asia, and South America, recreating the adventures that brought us mangoes from India, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta, along with many other delicacies that revolutionized the American diet and that we now take for granted, such as pistachios, nectarines, and kale.

~ Politics and Prose

Book Reviews: The Food Explorer

The Food Explorer; The Man Responsible for Avocado Toast | BookPage

‘The Food Explorer’: The Intrepid Botanist Who Brought Avocados and More to Our Shores | USA Today

Review: ‘The Food Explorer’ | The Wall Street Journal

Food of Dreams


Written by
JoAnn Chateau
JoAnn Chateau

Who’s Writing?

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about Chester, the Alpha Bichon -- with a dash of humor and a dab of Poli-Sci. Her views and insights are tinted by a former profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and training in Library and Information Science. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


Chester is a scruffy little Bichon dog, with a congenial Napoleon Complex, and stars in "The Chester Chronicles." He sometimes reports independent Canine News -- NO corporate treats accepted, NO corporate bias. Woof!

Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl (GG) is curator at She's progressive to the core, and easily blown away by serendipity and/or good food. (OK, GG is really JoAnn.) GG's posts signal that news or content from another website is a "must-see" and "must-remember."