By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Peanut Commission is using National Peanut Month to promote one of Georgia’s top agricultural commodities and its many health benefits.
According to Joy Crosby, director of communications, the commission will be present at various events throughout March to educate Georgia residents and tourists about peanuts.
“With March being National Peanut Month, it’s just the perfect time to celebrate one of America’s foods. In Georgia, peanut farmers grow approximately 50 percent of all the peanuts in the U.S.,” Crosby said. “The month of March gives us one time to celebrate peanuts and celebrate peanut farmers in Georgia and the nutritional benefits of eating peanuts and peanut butter.”
The commission’s month full of events starts on March 2 with its annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Day at the state Capitol.
“On that day, we have a lot of exhibits at the state Capitol promoting peanut products. We’ll serve some delicious fried Georgia peanuts. We’ll have grilled PB&Js. Usually, Hardy Farms has some of their boiled peanuts on hand,” Crosby said. “We just celebrate the importance of peanuts to Georgia’s economy. In addition to that one event, we also donate a little over 10,000 jars of peanut butter to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.”
According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, the state’s peanut farmers produced more than 1.79 million tons in 2017. Peanuts are planted in more than 75 counties in Georgia and account for 23 percent of the state’s row and forage crops income. The peanut industry contributes more than 50,000 jobs in Georgia.
“It’s very important to promote peanuts to our elected officials. Peanuts contribute approximately $2 billion to the state and local economies in Georgia,” Crosby said. “With peanuts being Georgia’s official state crop, why wouldn’t you want to promote it and let our elected officials know more about the benefits of peanuts to Georgia’s economy and also the nutritional benefits?”
The Georgia Peanut Commission will also distribute red bags of peanuts to welcome centers throughout the state for tourists, have an exhibit on display at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the weekend of March 13–15 when NASCAR makes a pit stop in Georgia, and have an exhibit for the Atlanta Community Food Bank Hunger Walk on March 15.
Coincidentally, March is also National Nutrition Month, which allows Crosby and the commission to emphasize the importance of peanuts and its numerous health benefits.
“Peanuts are a good source of protein, but they have a lot of other nutrients that are very important with preventing heart disease and certain types of cancer and helping to lower your blood pressure. They’re also great for people who have diabetes, helping maintain your blood sugar,” Crosby said.