National Geographic : 1933 May
NEW JERSEY NOW! rnotograpn courtesy %ampoeu soup io. THE GENESIS OF GUMBO SOUP Okra thrives in Jersey soil, where vast acreage is given over to vegetables for adjacent cities and for the soup-makers. port (which also serves as the principal airport for Philadelphia) ; and municipal docks along the Delaware River. The great soup and vegetable canning factories of Camden furnish an outlet for thousands of truck farms, big and little, that spread over the southern counties of New Jersey. In Camden originated the idea of concentrated or condensed soups, saving almost half the previous cost in canning, labeling, packing, storage, and shipping (see Color Plate X). THE GEOGRAPHY OF CAMDEN'S "SOUP EXCHANGE" For those who have sensitive olfactory nerves, a soup factory is a congenial place. Giant nickel kettles waft the odors of steaming fresh vegetables, chickens, and beef. Cleanliness is a watchword. Scald ing water taps are everywhere, to clean utensils before and after using. Few industries involve so far-reaching an exchange of commodities as does Cam- den's soup industry. From here soups go forth into every country in the civilized world, and in turn the industry draws upon the canning industries of eleven States to assist its own kitchens in preparing the puree from which soup is made. Last year one of the leading single out lets for steel tonnage in the United States was tin plate, and a lion's share of the tin plate that went into the making of tin cans found its way to Camden. Meats for Camden's soups came from 29 States; the poultry from 13; creamery butter from I6. To obtain piquant spices, buyers went to the ends of the earth. They brought back bay leaves from Asia Minor; ginger from China; black pepper corns from the Malabar Coast of India; cloves from Zanzibar; nutmegs and mace from the Banda Islands; fenugreek from Anatolia; cinnamon from Ceylon; cumin from the island of Malta; mangoes from the Philippines; saffron from Austria; rare condiments from everywhere.