More About Peanuts

Many of you commented on Tuesday’s Barn Charm post, saying that you didn’t know that peanut vines were baled and used for cattle feed.  So I thought I’d share a little more information about peanut crops for those of you who aren’t familiar with how they’re grown, etc.

In the fall, peanuts are “dug”, using equipment, known (not surprisingly) as a peanut digger. They’re then left to lie on top of the ground for several days, so they can dry. Some folks love the smell of freshly dug peanuts, others don’t. It causes allergies for many. If fall in the country had an aroma, that would be it. (Wonder if Yankee Candle has considered this…)

When the farmer determines that the peanuts have dried enough, they’re “picked”, using a peanut combine, or as most folks around here call it: a peanut picker. The combine separates the peanuts from the vines, sends the peanuts into a hopper, and the vines are returned to the ground.

It’s a very dusty job.

Here’s a better picture of the combine. Although the peanuts have dried somewhat since they’ve been picked, after harvesting, they’re taken to an open shed, called a peanut dryer, on the farm. There, huge fans remove even more moisture before the peanuts are taken to a local buying station.

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, after harvesting, many farmers bale the peanut vines and feed them to the cattle. (These aren’t birds in this picture: they’re blowing leaves. This was a day or two before Hurricane Sandy narrowly missed us.)

The pictures above of the peanut combine were taken last weekend at Bacon’s Castle farm. Years ago, peanuts were “shocked”, or placed on vertical poles, to dry.

These are pictures of my Grandaddy, taken probably in the 1930’s, on the Castle farm, with shocked peanuts in the background.

Farming has come a long way, Grandaddy.

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24 responses to “More About Peanuts

  1. Very interesting Dianna. When I saw that picture of your Grandaddy I thought I was looking at a picture of my GrandDad from Harrisonville, Missouri! Seriously!! I think it’s the hat but they sure look alike. Those tan arms!! We love peanuts and we are addicted to boiled peanuts.. 🙂

  2. It’s amazing to me that the huge machine knows a peanut from the vine. Interesting post and priceless historical photos, Dianna. In your grandaddy’s day, that was a lot of work to harvest a crop of peanuts giving appreciation to the saying “working for peanuts.”

  3. Really nice, the pic of your grandpa is great.
    I like raw peanuts, never tried them boiled and a friends keeps talking about it, I should give it a shot.

  4. Wonderful pics of granddaddy 🙂

  5. You know, I always wo ndered about peanuts. Now I know. Thanks
    Nellie’s Mom

  6. Very interesting about the allergies — my daughter is dangerously allergic to peanuts and we have to be so careful — even the smell of peanut butter causes trouble for her. I wonder if she could even live in your corner of the world…

    I love the old pictures so much! Your granddaddy was a hard worker!

  7. Wow, I loved your post today, Dianna! And adored the pictures of your granddaddy. My paternal grandfather was a tobacco farmer and this felt like a blast into the past for me. It’s amazing how much has changed just in our lifetimes.
    I always wonder, though, how come we never heard of peanut allergies growing up and now so many people have one?

  8. What a great story and pictures! Being from PA I never saw peanuts grown before. One of my favorite new discoveries was to go to a field (with permission) that had been harvested and dig for missed peanuts. My kids and I had a ball filling up a couple of paper bags of peanuts. It was like a big scavenger hunt!

  9. It’s a fascinating process. People from all over the world would visit Bacon’s Castle, and some of the most popular questions were about peanuts and how they were grown / harvested. We even had a little flyer that we’d hand out; it made it easier on us !
    Love the old pics! The methods have changed quite a bit!

  10. thanks for sharing this! definitely nothing i see here (or in wisconsin, for that matter). 🙂

  11. Wow….it was SO MUCH more work back in “the day” of your Grandaddy wasn’t it….sure looks like dusty/dirty work even now. Thanks for sharing the process – it’s really interesting….your Yankee Candle idea was pretty yummy – I mean INTERESTING! LOL

    Pam

  12. I absolutely LOVE the old timey photos! Farming certainly has come a LONG way!

  13. Fantastic pictures! There’s so many different ways to harvest things in this world that it’s just amazing to me. Isn’t it fantastic what the human mind can invent to make things easier and easier as time goes by?
    Thank you for the peanut harvest explanation!
    ~d.

  14. A fabulous post Dianna! Fascinating and I love the pictures of your Granddaddy! Years ago (many) when my husband and I crossed the country, there was nothing much to do on the long drive, so we argued about where peanuts came from – trees or bushes. I said “bogs”. I finally know the truth – on vines. Thanks! 🙂

  15. Excellent information and the old timey pics are priceless.

  16. Very, very interesting, Dianna. Peanuts are an amazing crop. We used to plant a few in the garden. Crows love them!

  17. So informative and I love the pictures of your Granddaddy. Priceless!

  18. I love the history in this and the fact that you could weave in such a poignant photo of your Grand-dad. Imagine the work it took to “shuck” those plants by hand? I tip my hat to them; we whine about nothing in comparison, don’t you think?

    MJ

  19. Thanks for the peanut lesson, Dianna. Yes, industry and technology have come a long, long way from doing things the way our grandparents did.

  20. Good job making peanuts interesting! I learn so much from blogs, thanks for sharing! ~ Sheila

  21. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    These pictures back me back to our home places just outside of Surry. A lot of good times.

  22. Wow, that was really interesting because having been raised a northerner, I did not know much about peanuts except they grew in the south and I like to eat them! 😉

  23. We used to play on the peanut shocks when I was a kid. On the off-season, Mary Ellen and I used to build ‘houses’ out of the peanut shock poles.

  24. Remember shocking peas in september’s fields, and the ghostly shadows as they stood silent sentinal in the silvery fall moonlight

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