For seven generations, the seasonal rhythms Robin Reeves’ family followed in the community of Little Sandy Mush, North Carolina were dictated by tobacco. She planted seedlings in spring, harvested golden leaves in autumn, and strung them up to dry in the long barns that dot the landscape here. Tobacco also dictated some culinary traditions, manifested in the feasts required to feed those harvesting. What’s happened, though, as the tobacco industry has faded here?
As Jen Nathan Orris reports in the new episode of Gravy, food is involved in both the cultural history around tobacco-growing and some farmers’ hopes for its replacement.