I started in Wilson proper. I had spent the night at a little motel and was headed out of town on one of the roads south. Walking along a warehouse, I smelled something so delightful, so delicious I wished there were an Instagram for smells. It was, of course, a tobacco warehouse. Out front was parked a truck full of cured tobacco -- harvested, cured, and baled. I chatted with the two gentlemen out front for a while and asked if I could go in and take a picture. They preferred that I did not -- nothing they were ashamed of, but these are days when people in the tobacco business very strongly prefer to have as little attention as possible.
But as I walked the two-lanes between tiny towns like Speights Bridge and Lizzie and Scuffleton, the tobacco harvest was my constant companion, as was the overwhelming smell. It's everywhere. I also saw harvests of sweet potatoes and seed corn, so the week has been an orgy of pre autumnal bounty, to say nothing of big machines doing cool stuff.
But tobacco is the star of the show. I've been watching the fields ripen since I entered tobacco country in the eastern Piedmont, and the green leaves have begun going gold, one field at a time.
After curing is done new trucks take the bales to warehouses -- most tobacco is produced directly for companies now, I'm told, so tobacco auctions are becoming rarer. The video below was made with shots I took in the past few days simply as I walked down the road in Lawson's footsteps. This is just what's going on now.