I’ve posted about the Tobacco growing and harvesting that happens in my corner of Wallburg, NC each year. The first time I saw Tobacco growing was about 4 years go – the first year we lived here. The whole process is fascinating to me. And yes, I know there are lots of feelings from all over the globe about how “terrible” it is that North Carolina still grows something as vile as Tobacco --- but you have to understand how deep rooted this crop is here and how tied to history it is.
I don’t smoke. I can’t stand it --- but the history is as real as real can be.
“In North Carolina, tobacco growing developed a long and rich history that spanned almost three centuries. Sir Walter Raleigh was the first explorer to bring the leaf to Europe, and in later decades before the American Revolution, settlers in Carolina grew tobacco with moderate success along the Atlantic coastline. In the 1880’s, however, a new tobacco boom occurred in the state when Washington Duke introduced mass-production techniques in cigarette manufacturing. From then until 2001, tobacco growing and manufacturing were the largest source of income for North Carolina.”
It’s been a way of life for close to 300 years. It’s provided for families through good times and bad. And I love this photo of these women preparing the harvest for drying and curing! All over North Carolina you will find the remains of tobacco barns dotting the countryside. Some still in use, some fallen into decades of disrepair and crumbling into non-existence.
These are some pictures I took of the fields around my house.
Little by little these fields are giving way to other crops, as progress marches on and fewer and fewer farmers are making a living from growing tobacco.
The green leaves are turning yellow as harvest time approaches. The North Carolina heat and humidity and yearly average rainfall provide for these crops, and they’ve thrived here for generations.
The planting, grooming, and leaf removal are all done plant by plant, by workers and knives, the way it has been done for as far back as tobacco has been grown here. I love the view of the house far in the back corner of the photo. Their view? Green tobacco, as far as the eye can see.
The plants stand about waist high at this point…..my favorite part of the harvest is the “tobacco wagons” that connect to each other much like train cars --- two or three wagons being pulled behind pick up trucks laden with leaves ready for curing and drying. I know summer is almost over when I hear the rumble and jumble of the tobacco wagons being pulled down the road past my house to the drying facility beyond.
Another summer drawing to a close!
It’s been a good one, hasn’t it?