When you say “Coleman of Carson”, southeast Virginians know immediately what you are talking about. That’s because Lawrence Coleman owns one of the few businesses in the small town of Carson, VA. Since 1976, Coleman Peanut Company has built a reputation of roasting and distributing the finest Virginia peanuts available.
Now you can taste this famous regional specialty for yourself-whether you prefer your peanuts roasted or raw, salted or unsalted, shelled or ball-park style. Mr. Coleman uses only farm-fresh, jumbo Virginia peanuts and cooks them by hand in small batches.
He exercises the same care with his country-cured ham, which is cured, smoked and aged to reach you at the peak of flavor.
If you ever drive by Carson, VA, located at I-95 exit 37, do stop by and say hello. Everyone knows Mr. Coleman: he’s the one who put the town on the map.
History in a Nutshell
The large peanut grown in southeastern Virginia today can literally trace its roots back to South America. From there, peanuts were carried to Africa and Asia by early explorers and traders.
From Africa, peanuts made their way to the New World aboard slave ships. They were often seen in Virginia growing up around slave cabins, but were not harvested commercially until 1844 in Sussex County.
Originally peanuts—or goober peas or ground nuts as they were also called—were considered simple, humble fare. However, once discovered by Union Army soldiers during the War Between the States, peanuts quickly found their way up north.
By the late 1800’s, P.T. Barnum was hawking “hot roasted peanuts” under the Big Top, and the nation’s desire for peanuts spread as circus wagons traveled across the country.
However, the peanut was not an important agricultural crop until the early 1900s, when the boll weevil destroyed the South’s cotton crop. Following the suggestion of noted black scientist George Washington Carver, Virginia farmers switched to planting peanuts, which eventually replaced cotton as the South’s big money crop.
Today peanuts are a multimillion dollar industry in Virginia. While peanuts are grown all over the South, the size, quality and outstanding taste of Coleman’s Virginia peanuts have set the national standard for excellence.