It's a curious usage of the word truck, generally used as a verb or noun to indicate moving something.|
But any agricultural product needs to be moved from the field to market, corn, grain, lettuce, anthing. So a simple moving doesn't answer the question.
Truck farming seems to include only vegetables and fruit that are eaten without much conversion such as grinding or processing - e.g. lettuce, tomatoes, beans, strawberries, cantaloupes. When we say that a man is a truck farmer, we generally know what we mean, or at least think we mean.
Why "truck"? How long has the word been in this usage - before the advent of the one-ton truck?
||It seems "truck" derives from the old French "troquer" meaning "to barter; give in exchange" Hence the US uses "truck farm" because the produce was often bartered rather than sold. The truck in question has nothing to do with vehicles!... I learn something every day! Cf. "to have no truck with (something)", meaning "to have nothing to do with (it)" derived from a similar sense of "truck" as "dealings; communication".|
Thanks. That use of truck as a verb is the real clincher on the question. I've heard and read that expression many times but I never linked it to truck farming.|
Lewis Joplin II
||TRUCK FARM - "Many people share the notion that a 'truck farm' is a farm close enough to urban centers that its produce may be transported by truck to the city. However, there is no connection whatever between truck farms and motor transportation. Long before motor trucks were even dreamed of - at least as far back as 1785 - the word 'truck' was used to mean garden vegetables intended for sale in the markets. In fact, we have here an excellent example of the confusion that can develop from homonyms - words which are identical in spelling and pronunciation but very different in meaning. Often, to unravel the complexities, one has to go back to the root of each word. In this case, the 'truck' that is a vehicle for transporting freight comes from the Greek word 'trochos,' meaning 'wheel.' However, 'truck' meaning originally any commodities for sale and, later, garden produce for market comes from an entirely different root, 'troque,' the Old French word for 'barter.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).|