Food & Drink

Learn more about SC’s heritage foods in our new series

Introduced to South Carolina by African slaves in the late 17th century, the benne plant (landrace sesame) was extensively grown in slave patch gardens and was an important part of the slave diet. Local growth of benne seed in the 20th century was restricted to Southern hunting plantations, where it was used as a seed crop for birds. The plant made a comeback in 2003 with the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation’s revival of the planting of Lowcountry rice plantations and seeds were available for planting thoughout the South in 2009.

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