Around the Spanish missions grew such luxuriant gardens that
the Carolinians coveted the Golden isles and Georgia-Florida coast,
not for their beauty but for the great harvests and the cattle and hogs
the friars had taught the Indians to produce.
Perhaps the greatest gift of the Spaniards to Florida was the
orange that has contributed so much to the prosperity of the State.
Even in 1740, Oglethorpe's tired soldiers before the gates of St.
Augustine gave thanks for the refreshing fruit, saying: "There our men
found out the contrivance of putting orange-peel into their bottles,
which tampered the water's heat and by its generous bitter imparted a
noble warmth to the stomach."
The diet of the Seminole, though somewhat simple in its
preparation, is more varied than that of his forefathers. His garden now
has other vegetables in addition to the corn, beans, and squashes that
have always been part of it. Although vegetables have become an
important part of the diet, the Seminole cannot yet be called a vegetarian.
Nor can he be called a farmer, for he still follows the traditions of his
ancestors, using only a hoe and axe for cultivating implements. His crop
receives little attention after planting; most of his time being taken up in
the woods at hunting or fishing.