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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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ORAL HISTORY

William "Tootsie" Harwood


William “Tootsie” Harwood was born in the 1936 in Gloucester County, Virginia, the son of a farmer. Originally a postmaster, Tootsie managed a farm on the side and saw farming as a lifestyle, not a career. In 1980, he quit his job with the United States Postal Service and began to farm full time. Since then, Tootsie, his brother-in-law, and son, have grown corn, soybeans, and wheat. They lease 1,200 acres of land in Gloucester and Mathews counties. Harwood also raises and slaughters hogs. He uses family recipes to cure hams and sausages. His sausage and cuts of locally grown pork attract buyers across the South. Harwood donates surplus pork to food banks in the Tidewater. In his free time, he searches his land for historic artifacts dating back to the seventeenth century.

Date of interview:
2018-05-20

Interviewer:
Patrick Daglaris

Photographer:
Beth Wood

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.

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