That was the title of an article published in 2004 by Professor Ralph H. Lutts, a member of the Goddard College faculty, where he coordinates an M.A. concentration in interdisciplinary environmental studies. Some of you may recall reading an excerpt of this same story in “Mighty Giants: A Chestnut Anthology.” Alerted to the article by a chestnut enthusiast who contributed to the Chestnut Grower's forum. It contains some significant references to the economic contribution chestnut made to the blue ridge communities.
We'd hardly ever see these people at all, except when they came out to go to the store, and in the fall we could see 'em coming, maybe the parents and three or four kids coming down the trail. The old man would have a big coffee sack full of chestnuts on his back, and the little fellers would have smaller sacks, and even the mother would have a small sack of chestnuts caught up on her hip. They'd all trek to the store and they'd swap that for coffee and sugar and flour and things that they had to buy to live on through the winter. That's the way they made their living.
quoted from Wigginton, Foxfire 6, 403?4 via the Lutts article.
The article goes on to elaborate the mechanisms by which the locals were compensated for their harvest, and then how that harvest worked its way to market. A Fascinating article on cultural and economic impacts of this forest crop. I've provided a link to the article, and also attached a pdf version. I encourage members to take the time to read and appreciate this well researched, documented and written tale.