Farming was very hard work in New France. Often, the people who lived on the land had not been farmers in France. If they wanted to feed their families, though, they had to learn the trade quickly.
Almost everyone who arrived in New France could have land because so much of it was available. The land where the habitants settled had not been cleared. They had to chop down the trees during their first year so that they could start growing vegetables the following year. Sometimes it took a farmer several years to completely clear his land. The farmers could use the trees they chopped down to build a cabin, and then a house a few years later.
Video narration in French available at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/5/agriculture-commerce-et-industrie/116
Farming in New France only produced enough to feed the family. This means there was no surplus to sell in the village market. The habitants often had large families with five or six children. When the children were old enough, they worked on the farm. The habitants mainly grew wheat for making bread, along with a few vegetables like corn, cucumber and pumpkin.
Author: Alexandre Lanoix
See also – Traces of the past: