Turnips are an ancient vegetable that is thought to have been cultivated almost 4,000 years ago in the Near East. Both the Greeks and Romans thought highly of the turnip and developed several new varieties. Its widespread popularity in Europe has continued, although since the advent of the potato, it is less widely cultivated than it once was. Turnips were introduced into North America by the early European settlers and colonists. They grew well in the South and became a popular food in the local cuisine of this region. Turnip greens, which became an integral part of Southern AfricanAmerican cuisine, are thought to have been adopted into this food culture because of the role they played during the days of slavery. Supposedly, the slave owners would reserve the turnip roots for themselves, leaving the leaves for the slaves.