Thanks to the Texas Peanut Board for partnering with Everyday Best to bring you this post, and for hosting me on the Texas Peanut Blogging Tour.
I was recently invited to join 13 of the best bloggers from Texas, on an incredible journey through Lubbock TX.
We were hosted by the Texas Peanut Board, and we had the chance to see how peanuts are grown, processed, and how they make their way to tables all over this country!
What did I know about peanuts before this nutty adventure?
Not much! For instance I thought peanuts grew on bushes… when in fact, they grow under the ground! I also thought there was only one kind of Peanut. But there are actually several varieties of Peanuts, that farmers can choose to grow. Some are smaller and have a higher oil content, like the Runner Peanut. The Virginia Peanut is perfectly suited for shelling and snacking on! If you’ve ever had Peanuts at the Ballpark, it’s probably been one of these!
Other delicious varieties of peanuts include the Spanish Peanut, and the Valencia Peanut.
(Photo Courtesy of Texas Peanut Board)
What makes Texas Peanut Farmers Amazing?
Peanut Farming Fast Facts:
- Texas is the only state to produce all four varieties and organic peanuts.
- Our blog tour included meeting a real life Texas Peanut Farmer, named Mason Becker whose family has been farming for multiple generations.
- It takes 540 individual peanuts to create that 12 oz. jar of peanut butter in your pantry!
- Farming is expensive and often requires farmers to put all their savings and property up as collateral, in order to finance the supplies needed each growing season.
- Speaking of the expenses of farming. Mason told us his first Tractor cost him 3 times as much as his first house!
- Farming is much more technology driven than in the past. Farmers have to be skilled in technology, biology, and business skills in order to succeed.
- Farmers love what they do. But it’s getting harder and harder for Farm families to make a living. That’s one reason groups like West Texas Young Farmers Association try to stay involved in the political process. Texas farmers, and farmers all over our country depend on government subsidies in order to stay competitive in a global market.
- One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches!
Another amazing part of this Blogger Tour was a chance to see how many amazing upscale meals can be made with peanuts! We had an incredible Peanut inspired dinner at Las Brisas Southwest Steakhouse in Lubbock TX.
Peanut Tasting Menu included dishes like:
- Drunken Tuna w/ Wasabi Peanuts
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Chicken Wings
- Surf n’ Turf Satay w/ Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Peanut Bread w/ Ancho Honey Sauce
- Elvis Ice Cream Slider w/ Banana Bread and Chipotle Peanut Brittle.
Seeing all the unexpected ways you can use Peanuts in recipes got me thinking about how Peanuts make it into our favorite foods. And it turned out, Day 2 of our Tour answered this very question…
On the second day of our Blog Tour, I happily donned a classic ‘Lunch Lady’ hair net, in order to tour the Birdsong Peanuts Processing Plant!
It was thrilling to see the literal mountain of peanuts in the Birdsong storage facilities – I wanted to climb it! But no worries, they didn’t let me – they are very serious about hygiene and safety at Birdsong! We were not even allowed to photograph the inside of the facility. But I can tell you that there are machines whirring as far as the eye can see! All sorting peanuts by type, size, and shape! Millions of Peanuts pass through the Birdsong factory on the way to your favorite candy bar, or jar of nuts!
And it’s a good thing this factory can process so many nuts at a time. Peanuts account for two-thirds of all snack nuts consumed in the U.S! So it’s safe to say we kind of like them!
Bottom Line: Peanuts are small, but mighty! They are a passionate vocation for farmers and an inspiring ingredient for chefs to work with! And they provide a place of work for thousands of employees in Peanut factories around the country!
Peanuts are a crop Texans – and all Americans should be proud of!
Thank you Texas Peanut Board for hosting me on this fabulous educational tour. I will never look at a Peanut the same way, ever again!