The photo above is of an early peanut plant bagging machine in southern Chesterfield. When Africans were brought to North America as slaves, peanuts...

The photo above is of an early peanut plant bagging machine in southern Chesterfield.

When Africans were brought to North America as slaves, peanuts came with them. Slaves planted peanuts throughout the southern United States (the word goober comes from the Congo name for peanuts – nguba). In the 1700s, peanuts, then called groundnuts or ground peas, were studied by botanists and regarded as an excellent food for pigs. Until 1900 peanuts were not extensively grown, partially because they were regarded as food for the poor, and because growing and harvesting were slow and difficult until labor-saving equipment was invented around the turn of the century.

The first notable increase in U.S. peanut consumption came in 1860 with the outbreak of the Civil War. Northern soldiers, as well as Southern, used the peanut as a food. Southern Chesterfield has always been favorable to raising peanuts and cotton.