FRANKLIN, Virginia (WDBJ) – Virginia peanuts are the largest and most crunchy of any type grown in the United States. They are not only cultivated in the Commonwealth, but also in North Carolina and South Carolina. They are grown in the sandy soil of the southeastern part of Virginia.

“They are all in about eight contiguous counties east of 95 and west of the Norfolk metropolitan area,” said Dell Cotton, executive secretary of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association.

They are also called “Ballpark Peanut” because the ones you buy at baseball games are most likely Virginia peanuts. So while they are not grown here at home, the economic impact extends across the Commonwealth and beyond. It’s a multi-million dollar industry that generates over $ 20 million just for producers.

“Of course, that’s going to change many times within the economy, and manufacturing adds even more to it,” Cotton said.

During the pandemic, peanut sales increased 3%.

“Peanuts, peanut butter and peanut products – a lot of people look to peanuts for their comfort,” Cotton explained.

About 200 growers are part of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association, which represents 29,000 acres of peanuts planted this year.

“What the association does on their behalf is to conduct research, education and advocacy programs,” Cotton said.

The growing season begins in May.

“The peanut seed is literally a peanut itself. It is planted two inches below the ground. You will start to see the peanut plant start to come out of the ground in 10 to 12 days, ”said Marianne Catalano, Executive Director of Promotions Virginia Carolinas Peanuts.

They are harvested around mid-September or the first of October. Farmers will use an inverter to push the plants out of the ground so they can dry out.

“The peanuts sit in the field for about three to five days, because you want to absorb all that moisture that the peanut itself got,” Catalano said.

A combine will separate the peanut from the plant.

“And then the peanut is brought to a point of purchase, then it is brought to the manufacturer,” explained Catalano.

Whether you love your boiled, inshell, or gourmet peanuts, aboutpeanuts.com has information on which peanuts you can buy from growers in Virginia.

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