"Knee-high by the fourth of July" is the yardstick most American farmers measure their corn by. Corn is still America's number one crop and is still a powerful force in politics, as evidenced by pretty much every presidential candidate's embrace of ethanol. Many a White House hopeful have sung its praises at Sen. Harkin's annual steak fry.
But as my post last week on regional food traditions proved, corn is by no means the only food that was on the grill yesterday. This great map from Radical Cartography shows the density of America's top crops and favorite animals per county.
The region that Joel Garreau dubbed the "Breadbasket" produces the vast majority of the nation's corn, wheat, and soybeans -- which is also the historical cycle of crops here in the Chesapeake region. In fact, Garreau wrote in 1981 that "the Breadbasket accounts for 18 percent of the world's exports of wheat. By contrast, Saudi Arabia accounts for 14 percent of the world's production of oil."
Cows (which are actually not native to America) are everywhere; pigs are big in the Midwest and Carolina; and chickens are huge in the South, especially in Arkansas and the Delmarva. What did you grill for the 4th?