Benjamin Franklin lived primarily in the city, but he also had an affinity for agriculture and farm life. As a respected man of letters and a renowned polymath, it should thereby come as no surprise that this Founding Father is also known for having introduced various new agricultural products to the American colonies.
For instance, Franklin was one of the first supporters for starting a silk industry on American soil. A letter he penned to Philadelphia's Dr. Cadwallader Evans has been cited as stating how the mulberry tree--from which silkworms spin their silk--would be well-suited to the American colonies' climate and soils. Franklin went on to explain his position: "[M]ulberry trees may be planted in hedgerows on walks or avenues, or for shade near a house, where nothing else is wanted to grow. The food for the worms, which produce the silk, is in the air, and the ground under the trees may still produce grass, or some other vegetable good for man or beast. Then the wear of silken garments continues so much longer, from the strength of the materials, as to give it greatly the preference..."
Other agricultural produce that Franklin introduced to the US included Scotch kale, Swiss barley, Chinese rhubarb, and kohlrabi. Several farming forums and media channels have in fact celebrated how Franklin had sent rhubarb seeds and Scottish cabbage seeds to the colonies.
But perhaps what is even more surprising is that Franklin is recognized by gastronomy specialists as a "Founding Foodie," for being, as they depict, "one of the original food lovers" of the young United States. This is not just because of his Poor Richard's Almanack aphorism of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Rather it stems from his having introduced both soybeans and tofu to the colonies as well. Indeed, the oldest continuously run tavern in the United States, namely Philadelphia's City Tavern, serves Fried Tofu as an homage to Franklin's famous January 11, 1770 correspondence to John Bartram, wherein he shares: "Father Navarrete’s account of the universal use of a cheese made of them [soybeans] in China, which so excited my curiosity… I have since learned that some runnings of salt (I suppose runnet) is put into water, when the meal is in it, to turn it to curds… These … are what the Tau-fu is made of."
In all, it cannot be denied that Benjamin Franklin had a high regard for the farmer and for the farmer's integral role in the livelihood of the nation. This is best demonstrated by Franklin's description of agriculture as being "the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground in the kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry."