The History of Broccoli

Where could this flower the color of leaves have come from? How did broccoli come to be known to us today? Is this beautiful vegetable the product of nature or has it been engineered?

The history of broccoli is far and long. A native of the Mediterranean and Asia Minor especially Italy, it has been engineered by the ancient Etruscans from a cabbage relative. The Etruscans, originally called Rasennas, are reputed to be geniuses when it comes to horticulture.

In ancient Rome, the most popular broccoli variety was the purple sprouting broccoli which they served in creamy sauces, flavored with wine and herbs.

Broccoli was introduced in England in 1720 and was called not broccoli, but Italian asparagus and was described as a ‘sprout colliflower.’ The vegetable did not become known in the United States until the early 1920s.

However, only Italian immigrants grew broccoli in their backyards so they can enjoy its taste. This vegetable was not received warmly in the United States – not until Stephano and Andrea D’Arrigo migrated to the US from Messina, Italy.

They brought with them broccoli seeds, have started trial plantings in California and sent some of their harvests in Boston. It was the beginning of broccoli being commercially grown in the US.