The Story of Ella Kropf
This heirloom lettuce was donated to Seed Savers Exchange in 2005 by Maynard Kropf, the grandson of Amish Mennonites Samuel and Ella May Kropf. They had acquired the seed around 1930 from a man in Steawardson, Illinois. It grew to be a family favorite.
It may be that the ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate lettuce from a weed, valuable for its oil producing seeds, to a food crop grown for its leaves. The Greeks and Romans adopted the vegetable and it spread to Europe. By the 18th century many varieties of lettuce had been developed that still exist today.