The habitants of New France had to rely heavily on their surroundings for food. Fortunately, the land, forests and rivers provided them with everything they needed to survive.

People harvested cabbage, carrots, celery, beans, lettuce, peas and onions from the land. They also grew apple and other fruit trees in their gardens.

Farmers ground the wheat they grew into flour. Flour is the most important ingredient in bread making. Since bread was the main staple of the habitants in New France, they had to grow a lot of wheat. Most houses even had their own bread oven.

Farm animals were essential because they also provided various sources of food. Cows gave milk, which was used to make butter and cheese, and chickens laid eggs. These animals could also be eaten, along with pigs and sheep. Fall was slaughtering season. People would kill some of their pigs and other animals so that there was meat for the winter.

The forest rounded out the diet of the habitants. It abounded with wild berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. People harvested these berries in the summer months and used them to make jam. They also gathered different types of nuts. The forest was also home to wild animals like moose, hare, partridge and pigeon, which were hunted for food.

As a result, the habitants of New France had a fairly varied diet. The quantity and quality of their food, however, depended on the weather. A good crop meant there would be enough food to last the entire winter, while a poor crop caused famine in the colony.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See also – Traces of the past: