Being a full-time blogger means that I don’t have a regular nine to five job, but I wouldn’t trade any of the ups and downs for the world, especially when it means getting to go on some super cool trips!
I recently flew to Americus, Georgia (a couple hours south of Atlanta!) to learn more about peanut farming, processing and sustainability with my friends at The Peanut Bureau of Canada – we’ve partnered together on a few delicious posts (remember my FAVE Slow Cooker African-Inspired Peanut Stew or those Kung Pao Shrimp Bowls?!) and I’m so excited to give you guys a recap of the trip they hosted me on!
Disclosure: While this post is not sponsored, I did receive this trip courtesy of The Peanut Bureau of Canada and used the hashtag #PressTrip on my social channels. Hope you got to follow along and tag along on the adventure. If not, I’m bringing you back some fun pictures and cool facts I learned while touring southern Georgia!
Oh and did I mention that this trip involved a formal dinner with former US President Jimmy Carter?! Sometimes I really love my job!
Last week, I flew down to the Atlanta airport along with a host of other Canadian bloggers and food media including dieticians, writers and professional chefs,. and stayed at the delightful Windsor Hotel in Americus, about 15 minutes away from the Plains Peanut Festival. The annual event, which is hosted in Jimmy Carter’s hometown and exudes everything southern charm, focuses on the community’s claim to fame, its peanut production. There’s a 5k road race, parade, exhibitions and the opportunity to explore the town centre along with educational exhibits that emphasize the importance of agriculture in the region.
Of course before we attended the annual peanut fest, we *HAD* to learn a little bit more about how peanuts are farmed and processed, so I’m sharing some key pictures from my trip along with some super interesting tidbits about one of my favourite high-protein snacks!
The day we flew into Atlanta we hit the road right away, touring a local farmer’s market with all kinds of delicious preserves and visited a peanut farm after that – I was shocked to learn just how large the fields were and also interested to find out that most peanut farmers also farm cotton and corn as rotation crops.
In fact, farms in the United States typically produce between 3 billion and 5 billion pounds of peanuts annually, and there are approximately 25,000 peanut farmers in the major producing regions, Georgia being one of the most well-known. We Canadians are one of the largest consumers of USA peanuts, accounting for one third of their total export. I don’t know about you but I could eat peanut butter off the spoon for days, and I know I’m not the only one!
After visiting the peanut fields, we learned a little bit more about how peanuts are processed and let’s just say very little of this legume (yes, legume!) goes to waste! Everything including the shell is used in a whole range of consumer products, most of which are edible, which makes the peanut a very sustainable crop.
After visiting Tifton Quality Peanuts, we went to visit Mana Nutrition, an organization that produces a ready-to-use therapeutic food made of a fortified peanut paste that has been carefully formulated to provide a child’s basic nutritional needs. Roughly three servings of MANA a day for six weeks can save the life of child suffering from severe acute malnutrition. MANA Nutrition produces as much as 121,000 lbs of MANA each day at its facility near Tifton, Georgia, which is enough to feed about 4,000 children suffering from malnutrition over six weeks; it’s been distributed to 35 countries around the world and much of it ends up in a village setting.
It was so great to learn from founder Mark Moore and everything he’s doing along with his partners to combat hunger around the world – who knew peanuts would play a key part?
After learning so much about the peanut industry, we sat down to a gala dinner with former president Jimmy Carter and heard him speak about his life growing up in Plains, Georgia and later as a peanut farmer before his presidency. It was such an honour to hear him speak!
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to continue to share my love and knowledge of peanuts for years to come! Now excuse me while I get back to eating my fave snack…