Esrolia is very densely populated – “too dense” say many. At somewhere around 200 people per square kilometer, it is even more densely populated than medieval France. This means that every 4 kilometers or so there is a village.
The earth is incredibly fertile here. It also means that most farms are small, much smaller than in Dragon Pass. Instead of the 50 hectare sized free commoner farms in Dragon Pass, the average Esrolian peasant might only have 10 hectares or less (usually more like 3 to 5 hectares). Which means they must work temple fields as tenants or even as peons and debtors. The temple provides food, seed, and tools – in exchange, they get the half or more of the peasants’ harvest, plus the right to demand additional labor. It is no wonder that most outsiders view the rural population as oppressed peasants and slaves.
But few starve or go hungry thanks to Ernalda’s bounty. The productivity is incredible – not just einkorn wheat, but oranges, wine, apricots, strawberries, cherries, olives, chilis, sugarcane, beans, onions, and even tomatoes. Livestock is mainly pigs and fowl (chickens and geese), although Longsiland is famed for its herds of sheep and cattle.
Of course, the Mirrorsea Bay also helps feed the teeming throngs of people. Fish, waterfowl, crustaceans, etc. Lots of fishermen, merfolk, ducks, and newtlings.
Another aside is that meat is a less significant part of the diet in Esrolia than most Dragon Pass cultures. So in early posts, we saw that livestock from Prax is a big part of the diet in Boldhome, and likely elsewhere in Sartar – without all that cattle, Boldhome would have difficulty feeding its population. But Sartar and Prax have lots of room for grazing, lots of pasturelands, etc.
Esrolia does not. Pig and chicken are much more important in most people’s diet than sheep and cattle, but cereals, vegetables, and fruits are likely even more important. Heck it is probably a lot easier to be a Chalana Arroy initiate in Esrolia than in Dragon Pass…