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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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This long, thin country, more than 2,600 miles from tip to toe, is sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. ‘The soil is so fertile, that the husbandmen have very little trouble; for they do but in a manner scratch up the ground and without any kind of manure it yields an hundred fold,’ wrote a visiting British admiral in the 18th century. True of the temperate to subtropical central zone of wide fertile valleys, where table grapes and stone fruits are grown and vineyards planted, it can hardly be said of the high desert of the northern third, nor of the rain-washed forests of the south, as far as Tierra del Fuego, where neither climate nor terrain is suitable for settled agriculture.