A Little History
We have devoted our lives to creating and advocating for a more sustainable food system. From our very first test batches of nut butter, we use only the best tasting, most sustainably produced ingredients we can find. Despite being located a short drive from one of the country’s largest tracts of peanut agriculture, finding peanuts that meet our standards for integrity, flavor, and freshness has been a challenge. Our commitment to being a positive force for agricultural progress and love of the Southeastern Runner variety of peanuts grown nearby led us to several regional peanut growers and shellers, who helped us learn more about the challenges and opportunities of peanut farming. While we were not able to find organically grown peanuts in our home state, we were able to find delicious NC- and GA-grown Runner variety peanuts that were not rotated with cotton (conventional cotton is a major contributor of pesticides and fungicides), which was encouraging.
We have primarily sourced peanuts from an independent sheller in Edenton, NC, and the peanuts they process are grown by farmers in the same and neighboring counties. Occasionally, we have also sourced from Georgia and Virginia, but more than 90% of our peanuts have come from NC. In 2014, we worked with a single organic farmer in Nash County, NC, on a few acres of organic peanuts, all of which we contracted to buy, but the entire harvest was lost to mold due to improper storage by a third party. It was heartbreaking, but we remained committed to finding a way to source local or regional organic peanuts.
At the beginning of 2018, our eighth year in business, we made a promise to ourselves that if we didn’t find a source of organically grown peanuts in NC or neighboring states by the end of the year, we would look elsewhere, and so we did. We first tried samples grown in New Mexico – the nation’s leading grower of organic peanuts – and they were really good! However, we were a little concerned about the heavy use of fertilizers and irrigation necessary in such an arid climate, so our search continued.
Further South in Search of Organic Peanuts
Peanuts are indigenous to South America and have been cultivated there for millennia. We made inquiries with several different importers so that we could try samples from the native soil of Arachis hypogaea (aka the peanut). Argentina, it turns out, has an abundance of land ideal for peanut cultivation, with a naturally high soil fertility that requires little to no fertilizers to produce large yields and healthy crops. When we first tasted samples of organic Cordoban Runner variety peanuts from Argentina, we were simply blown away by their taste and kept going back to eat them by the handful. The texture was also a tad crunchier than American Runners and the natural oils were more buttery. We were immediately obsessed and had to know more.
The peanut industry in Argentina is very particular about quality, as most peanut farmers do their own shelling and packaging for transport to both local and export markets. In the U.S., this is rarely true, and most peanut farmers have to tender their crops to shellers who blend their harvests with dozens or even hundreds of others during shelling. Over the past few decades, Argentine peanut farmers have perfected techniques of growing organically and incorporated state of the art shelling and food safety inspection equipment. The result is not only better quality in terms of taste and texture, but also improvements in food safety and consistency. The more we found out about Argentina’s organic peanut agriculture, the deeper we fell in love with their peanuts. The grower group has, over the years, integrated their own shelling and processing equipment into their planting, digging, and harvesting operations, ensuring top-notch food safety, quality, and lot specificity. We are so proud to introduce these phenomenally delicious Cordoban Runner peanuts to you and hope you love them as much as we do.
For more information about the benefits, tradeoffs, and subtleties of organic agriculture, we recommend this article by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In short, organic agriculture considers the medium- and long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture should aim to take a proactive approach as opposed to treating problems after they emerge.
Photo credit: Good Housekeeping