They abounded in Gentilly. They checkerboarded Marrero. They are eponymous with Metairie.
“They” were truck farms, and from the 1870s to the 1950s, their crop-lined fields dominated the fringes of greater New Orleans, from Arabi to Marrero, from Algiers to Kenner.
A truck farm is a small agricultural enterprise devoted to raising vegetables, fruit, dairy and other delicate edibles. “Truck” comes not from the vehicle they were transported in — yet to be invented in the late 1800s — but from the French torquer, meaning exchange or barter, as many such farmers traded their yield at the town market.
Truck farms were sometimes known as market gardens, and their bounty fed both the family and as well as the local community. “Truck” came to be synonymous with fresh fruit and vegetables.