The economy of the ancient Olmec society had revolved around growing maize, but beans and squash as well as avocados, grains, and gourds were important crops in the region. To supplement their diet, the Olmec people caught fish, turtles, wild pigs, and deer. They could potentially be held responsible for being the first to begin domesticating wild animals in the region. The easy access to rivers had provided a way to begin trade with other cities, spreading their influence over long distances. They produced many goods such as rubber that they tapped from trees, basalt from the Tuxtla mountains, salt, shells, cocoa beans used to make chocolate, and fine pottery. This benefited the Olmecs as it established trade relations and alliances with other cities such as Monte Albán and Teotihuacán.