Happy Fall Y’all!!
I am so excited to share with you all details about my trip to Dothan, AL for the Alabama Farm-to-Table Peanut Harvest Tour. The southern hospitality that we experienced during the four day trip was truly something to remember. Everything was truly amazing from the beginning to the end! I am sure you can tell by the picture below I had fun!!
A Day To Remember!
Let me tell you all about my trip to the Wiregrass City. On my recent trip to Dothan, Alabama I learned the process of how to grow and harvest peanuts on the Farm-to Table Peanut Harvest tour. September 13 was National Peanut Day, so I thought it would be perfect to close out the month of September sharing the time spent in the Peanut capital of the world and some amazing peanut butter recipes on my blog.
Fun Facts about Peanut Farming in Alabama
- Approximately half of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama (Peanut Capital of the World).
- Alabama has about 1,000 peanut farmers
- There are four different types of peanuts (Runners, Spanish, Virginia, and Valencia).
- Peanuts are also called goobers, goober peas, pindars, ground nuts, earth nuts, and grass nuts.
- Manufacturers prefer runner peanut for peanut butter because they have the strongest peanut flavor and are uniform in size so they roast evenly before grinding.
- There are over 500 peanuts in every jar of peanut butter.
- Peanuts are not NUTS. Just because the word “nut” is in their name doesn’t make them nuts. Peanuts are actually legumes.
- You can use peanut shells in many ways. You can make kitty litter, kindling, fireplace logs, and compost from leftover peanut shells.
On Day one, they welcomed us with an amazing dinner at Ketchem’s Restaurant in Hartford, AL. The restaurant has the cutest southern welcome atmosphere from the door to the cute ice cream bar in the back. If you are in Hartford, AL I truly recommend that you visit this restaurant.
Day two started bright and early to start the whole learning process of how peanuts are grown and the history! Our first stop was at the Wiregrass Research & Extension Center. The Wiregrass substation (now known as the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center) was found in 1929 in Headland, Al. Researchers used the Wiregrass land to address a host of problems associated with the peanut production. These included mechanical harvesting studies that reduced labor requirements for successful cultivation from 30 hours to only four hours per acre. Can you believe that it took 30 hours to gather one acre of peanuts with the mule in the 1900’s?
Our First Peanut Farm Visit
Our first farm visit to was to Parker Farms in Headland, AL with Mr. Curry who is a 5th generation farmer. He taught us that the sandy soil in the southeast makes it great to grow peanuts. Mr. Curry knew he wanted to be a farmer at 11 years old and after 52 years of farming, he still loves and truly has a passion for it!
Mr. Curry, a 52 Year Old Passionate Farmer
During our tour, we learned all about the buying Point & Shelling Facility at Thompson Peanut Co.. We also learned how the peanuts come from the field and inspected to determine their value. They also explained to us how they process the peanuts after leaving the buying point and before they send them to be made into peanut products.
We ended day two in true southern hospitality fashion with a fish fry on the farm. Mr. Fred Helms welcomed the whole team with opened arms to his beautiful farm where he has peanuts and cotton.
A Breathtaking Scenery !
Day three we visited Mr. Ed White and learned more about the peanut growing process. There we learned how the tractors have a GPS which is used to start the first straight row to get the process started. To top off our visit to Mr. Ed, we got to ride in the tractor and picked green peanuts fresh from the farm.
Our Exciting Tour With Mr. Ed White!
What Are Green Peanuts?
Green peanuts are raw peanuts that have been freshly dug from the soil and no moisture has been removed. Therefore, they have very high moisture content—approximately 35% to 50%. They are fresh and delicious, even though they are only available for a limited time each year. If you decide to buy green peanuts, then you have to keep them refrigerated.
Peanut Nutrition Facts
Dr. Samara Sterling from The Peanut Institute came to our lunch at the Dothan Botanical Gardens to help us learn more about health benefits of peanuts. She is a nutrition scientist/research director for the Peanut Institute and has expertise in the use of plant-based nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. She explained that peanuts are good for our heart and that the mind diet study reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alabama Farm-to-Table Peanut Harvest Tour was hosted by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association.
End of Tour Picture
I hope you learned some new fun facts about peanuts and will try incorporating them in your diet.
If you are on a peanut craze like me make sure you check out these great peanut butter recipes: