The Hudson River Valley and eventually large swaths of western New York served as a bread basket for the English Empire and then the new United States. Europeans often praised the land here as being rich for farming.
While keeping up on my fellow history blogs, I was pleased to bump into one by The Farmers' Museum today that talks about wheat production in New York State during the early 19th century. While a lot of us learned about agriculture in the Midwest when we read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as kids, you might have forgotten that her book Farmer Boy was written about her husband's farming childhood in upstate New York. If you have, take a moment to read this great little blog entry. (My hats off to the intern who calculated how many acres of wheat field would be required to feed a family of 6 in 1840.)