Monday, May 20, 2013

Botetourt Canning History

Botetourt County has a long history of canneries in its agricultural communities. In the early 1900s, Botetourt County was the second-largest tomato-canning county in the United States.

An article in the September 30, 1903 edition of The Richmond Times Dispatch states that Botetourt annually packed more tomatoes than any other locality except for Harford County, MD. Botetourt farmers packed over 250,000 cases of tomatoes and shipped them by rail all over the country.

There were about 150 canneries in the county, with nearly every farmer, large and small, working to produce a crop of tomatoes once winter passed. The canning industry employed hundreds of men, women, and children and brought an estimated $800,000 to the county annually. Each of these canneries had their own packing labels. The labels were a work of art.


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