Thirty years ago, my hometown of Smithfield, North Carolina, launched what the Washington Post later called “A War in the Hamlets.” On the line were rights to the title “Ham Capital of the World,” which Smithfield, Virginia, long took as its own and painted on a welcome sign at the entrance to town. They took the Smithfield brand name, too, when in 1926, Virginia’s General Assembly passed a law stating that any ham labeled “Genuine Smithfield” had to be “cut from the carcasses of peanut-fed hogs, raised in the peanut-belt of the State of Virginia or the State of North Carolina,” and “cured, treated, smoked, and processed in the town of Smithfield, in the state of Virginia.”

*Read on in Gravy.

AuthorEmily Wallace