I recently took a quick trip to the Richmond, Virginia, area for a very interesting reason: it was peanut harvest season!
As I’m a northerner and peanuts are grown in the southern states, I had no idea (NONE) about how peanuts are grown and harvested. And as a naturally curious person, I couldn’t wait to find out.
But before I found out the secrets of a peanut harvest, I partook in a delightful peanut-themed dinner at Mise En Place in downtown Richmond. The downtown area is very charming and has a Boston-y feel with its brick streets and historic look.
All of the appetizers, main dishes, and desserts had a peanutty twist, and so did the cocktails! The night’s signature cocktail was a rum & coke made with peanut-infused rum.
My favorite dish was the one pictured in the bottom right of the above collage. It was a roasted squash soup drizzled with peanut oil and topped with pieces of bacon. It was phenomenal and something that I’d love to try to replicate in my own kitchen.
The part of the meal that my group oohed and ahhed over the most was this dessert. It was a twist on peanut butter and jelly – a peanut panna cotta with a grape sorbet! Amazing. I won’t be trying to replicate this one but I will probably dream about it regularly.
On the following morning, we were bussed to Hope and Harmony Farms, which is in Drewryville, Virginia about an hour from Richmond. I get terrible motion sickness on busses, but when I got off the bus to see this view, all was forgiven.
Hope and Harmony Farms is run by the Popes, a fourth generation family of farmers. Their farm includes acres and acres of peanuts as well as cotton.
Along with selling their raw peanut crop, they have a company called Royal Oak Peanuts that sells delicious roasted and flavored peanuts. I sampled the sriracha lime flavor and embarrassingly enough, polished off the entire tin on my drive home. My bad. (These would make a good stocking stuffer if you’re still looking for ideas!)
Much to my uneducated-about-peanuts delight, we were treated to a demonstration of a peanut harvest! A tractor drives over the peanut crop and with those long tines, effortlessly turns the peanut plants upside-down so that the peanuts themselves can dry in the sun.
I was even able to taste a newly harvested raw peanut, dirt and all! Before being roasted, peanuts taste kind of like a crunchy vegetable – along the lines of a sugar snap pea.
After learning about how peanuts are harvested, we sat down to a beautifully rustic lunch on the farm featuring peanuts as well as Virginia wine.
I loved the table settings! All of the cutlery was gold rather than silver and I wondered if I could get away with that look at my own home.
As a token to remember the trip by, I received this extremely cute personalized peanut butter spoon. For a bodybuilder, peanut butter is a diet staple so this will definitely come in handy.
A huge thank you to the National Peanut Board for hosting me on this trip and teaching a clueless northerner how peanuts are harvested!