Peanut Distributors in Roanoke Rapids, NC
In historic Enfield, A&B Milling Co. has been shelling out their popular Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts for more than 50 years.
Once the world’s largest raw peanut market, Enfield also is host to an annual peanut festival. Each October, families gather for good food, arts and crafts, entertainment, music, street dancing and, above all, peanuts. Manager Bob Allsbrook says each batch of Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts is identically roasted to ensure consistency in taste, using only the highest grade of Virginia-style peanuts.
Country-style gourmet peanuts are hands-down customer favorites, Allsbrook says. The jumbo peanuts are water-blanched, roasted in corn oil and lightly salted. Other Web and mail-order items include raw shelled, chocolate-covered, honey-roasted and roasted redskin peanuts, as well as cashews and other chocolate products.
The Roanoke Valley is a leader in the nation’s peanut industry, boosting the local economy and making the salty, crunchy snack much more than a memorable ballpark favorite.
“We know taste is subjective, but you do have a lot of people who say the sandy-type soil in the North Carolina/Virginia area gives peanuts a better flavor,” says Lindsey Vincent, owner of The Good Earth Peanut Co. in Skippers, Va. “The type of seed used here also makes for larger kernels and shells than others.”
Location and the knowledge of local farmers play a huge part in the success of Severn Peanut Co. “We feel that we get a high-quality peanut in North Carolina,” says R.P. Watson, vice president of operations. “If we can grow it in North Carolina, it saves a lot of money on freight.”
Hampton Farms, a subsidiary of Severn Peanut Co., roasts, packs and markets finished peanut products directly to customers and has four production facilities: one in Severn, one in Edenton, one in Springfield, Mass., and one in Portales, N.M. The two North Carolina facilities are in the heart of what is known as the “V/C (Virginia-Carolina) Peanut Belt.”
In Roxobel, peanut farmers Joey and Danielle Baker oversee Bakers’ Southern Tradition Peanuts every step of the way. Danielle Baker says the company has become known for its blister-fried and Carolina Cajun peanuts, hand-dipped chocolate-covered peanuts and unique treats, including Baker’s latest offering – Better Bites. The candy creation consists of chopped peanuts rolled in creamy caramel dipped in milk chocolate.
“The fact that we grow our own peanuts really sets us apart from other products, and we are very picky about the peanuts that we use,” Baker says.
The peanuts from Down East Peanuts in Scotland Neck also are grown locally. Graham Whitehead Jr. pursued his dream and founded the company in 1997. The third-generation peanut farmer grows the nuts on his farm.
Down East’s secret cooking technique produces the very best “peanut-tasting” peanut on the market today, Whitehead says.
While all the companies have received national attention and ship daily to customers throughout the United States, the owners agree that local support has been imperative to their continued success.
“I always wanted to do something that utilized the strengths of our part of the country,” Vincent says. “People are proud to have a product made right here in their own community.”
Find more on the peaunut industry in Roanoke Rapids, NC.