Elba’s first settlement was established after the turn of the 19th century. The rich fertile soil and moderate climate lured many enthusiastic settlers. Farmers built their homes using the plentiful building materials from dense forests surrounding this beautiful valley. This opened the way for farming produce such as cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. The rich, fertile black soil, made up primarily of humus from drained swampland with underlying limestone, yields a bounty of crops, most notably high quality potatoes. Elba’s rich “muckland" soil is noted for producing high quality potatoes and onions. Elba is known to many as the “Onion Capital of the World.” sits in the middle of prime farming land in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.