A brief history of the world’s favorite small grain

We all remember the sturdy canister of oatmeal in our kitchen pantries growing up. But the true history of oats dates back millennia, with evidence of the cultivated grain found in caves in Switzerland dating back to the Bronze Age. With wet, cool weather providing the ideal climate for growing the small grain, it became a regular part of a Northern European five to six centuries ago, most popular in Scotland, where “Scottish oats” are a staple of their diets to this day.

European colonists sowed oats in North America for the first time in 1602 on Elizabeth Islands, off the Massachusetts coast. Post Revolutionary War and prior to his presidency, George Washington sowed 580 acres of oats on his Virginia land. But, by the following century, oat acreage shifted westward to the more amenable climates of the upper Midwest, where the majority of oats (including Country Choice Organic oats) are produced today.