Because of the rocky, mountainous terrain and poor soil of colonial Massachusetts, corn was the only major crop grown in the area, but beans, pumpkins, rye and squash were also grown in limited quantities. The settlers learned how to grow the crops thanks to the Wampanoag Indians who lived in the area. They also relied on fish and livestock for food.
In addition to using it to sustain themselves, the Massachusetts settlers relied on corn, livestock and fish to create a booming agricultural industry. Fur trade, lumber and shipbuilding were also major industries at that time.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded in 1630 by John Winthrop, just 10 years after the Pilgrims founded Plymouth colony in the same area. The colony was often struck by long, cold winters, which also made farming difficult. The colonists of Massachusetts experienced less disease than the warmer colonies.