So what actually goes into being an organic peanut farmer?
Part of Puffworks’ core beliefs is in the importance of quality ingredients; and part of that is getting to know more about where they come from. We wanted to take some time to talk with organic peanut farmers to learn more about what it is they do, and why they do it. We spoke with two peanut farmers: Gary and Karen Jackson from Seminole, Texas to figure out just that.
To gather some background, Gary Jackson is a third generation peanut farmer. The farm was passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him. He continues his family’s legacy through farming peanuts on various plots of land in both New Mexico and Texas. They grow all four types of peanut variety on their farms: Valencia, Runner, Spanish, and Virginia.
The Jackson’s organic peanut farm has actually been an organic farm since day one. When looking to expand their farmland, they found a piece of land that had originally been an organic farm. Since there is so much that goes into becoming a certified organic farm, the Jacksons decided to take this opportunity, and continue implementing organic practices, and use the land for organic peanut farming.
Peanuts are a fairly hardy plant, but thrive in the conditions that exist in the southern regions of the U.S.: where the Jackson’s peanut farms are. Gary said that peanuts grow well in moderate climates, with sandy soil. They have a long growing season, and respond well to decent amounts of water both from rainfall, as well as some supplemental irrigation—however, peanuts actually require much less water than nearly all other nuts, making them a highly sustainable and resilient crop in such dry climates.
Late September to October is when the peanut excitement begins—it's harvest season! But what exactly goes into harvesting peanuts? The peanut itself grows underground, so unlike many other crops, a farmer is unable to see the exact status of the peanut. It takes practice, right timing, and even a bit of luck when harvest time comes to make sure the peanut is at the right stage in its growing cycle. Since the growing season is lengthy, it is essential to keep the peanuts in the ground until they are mature. However, they cannot be left in too long, otherwise there will be a harvest loss. Once the peanuts reach that maturity, and the conditions are right, they are dug up from the ground. The next step is to use a peanut combine to separate the peanut from the plant. The peanuts are then left to dry before being ready for sale. Sounds complicated—right?
Well, when asked what his favorite part of being a peanut farmer is, Gary responded with, “…the simplicity of the whole process. It is ‘simple minded’ work in which you’re just kind of watching things grow. It is exciting to see the process repeat every year!”
Upon wrapping up, we asked Gary if there is anything else he would like to add. “Not much,” he began, “…other than the fact that, in my humble opinion, peanuts are the perfect food source! They are healthy, nutritious, protein-packed, and require no refrigeration. More people should be eating more peanuts!” And we couldn’t agree with him more!
At Puffworks, we know that our customers care about what goes into their food—which is a huge reason that we originally decided to go organic. It is, without question, better for the environment, better for you (since there is a huge reduction of consuming inorganic pesticides and/or fertilizers), and it is what makes us stand out among others. We care about our consumers, our Earth, and the people that go into making Puffworks Peanut Butter Puffs possible!