What Crops Were Grown in Colonial New Jersey?

The principal crops grown in colonial New Jersey were wheat, barley, flax, oats and rice. Corn and hemp farms also played a vital role in New Jersey’s economy. Colonial New Jersey was called a breadbasket colony because grains fared better in the mild climate as opposed to the cold climate of New England.

The Province of New Jersey was previously located in what was referred to as the Middle Colonies. These colonies fared better agriculturally than their New England counterparts, as local farmers were able to harvest a variety of warm-weather crops in the area’s rich soil. The wheat grown in the Middle Colonies was harvested and milled into flour and subsequently sent to England.

In addition to farming, the Middle Colonies, including New Jersey, also raised livestock such as cattle and pigs. Raw materials like iron ore and lumber as well as textiles and furs were also produced in colonial New Jersey.

Today, agriculture still plays an important role in New Jersey’s economy. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jersey Fresh website maintains that the state’s third-largest industry is food and agriculture. The state is now in the top ten for producing vegetables and fruits, including cranberries and bell peppers.