WATCH: Why Georgia Is Called The Goober State
When Georgia is on your mind, most people will find themselves thinking of endless summer days, afternoons on Grandma’s porch, or, as the song goes, “moonlight through the pines.” Most people do not find themselves thinking about goobers. Despite this, Georgia has been bequeathed the title of the Goober State.
The nickname may sound a touch silly to modern ears, it’s a moniker that pays tribute to Georgia’s long and storied past. While King George II granted the state its original charter and lent the state his name, Georgia’s nickname as “the Goober State” was earned, not borrowed from a faraway king.
As anyone who has driven along Georgia’s byways knows, there is a lot of farmland in the state. While Georgia is first and foremost a land of cotton, because of its size and varied climates, it can grow a lot of crops, including corn, tobacco, pecans, peaches (which gave Georgia it’s other nickname The Peach State) and, of course, peanuts, the chosen crop of the state’s most famous farmer, Jimmy Carter. Before leaving Georgia to take a job as the president of the United States, Carter helped Georgia become the state that leads the nation in peanut production.
Since many Southerners of a certain age call peanuts “goobers” it was only a matter of time until someone started referring to Georgia as The Goober State. During the Civil War, Georgia recruits were given the nickname of “goober-grabbers”. Their skills undoubtedly came in handy as they marched through the South on limited rations. In fact, by some accounts, there were times that the Confederate army survived almost exclusively on goobers. Those trying times were set to a jaunty tune in the 1866 song “Goober Peas” that not only tips a hat to the Georgia militia’s love of peanuts, but spread the gospel of goober-eating around the world.
These days the Goober State produces over half the peanuts produced in the United States, whether they are eaten in PB and J sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, as bar snacks across the United States, or at ballparks, washed down with that other favorite Georgia product— Coca Cola. Obviously, the industriousness of the state’s farmers is nothing to be ashamed of, so do your Georgian forebears and neighbors proud and proudly proclaim that you live in the Goober State.