October, 2011 – Fairhope, Alabama – Sometimes You Feel Like A Legume

Posted on November 18, 2011

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It’s peanut harvest time in LA (Lower Alabama), and it’s an interesting process.

Peanuts grow below the ground (kinda like potatoes), and are planted in rows.  When mature, a piece of equipment called a digger-inverter pulls the plants out of the ground and flips them over, then lays them down in windrows.

After the peanuts spend some time curing in the sun, a combine picks up the windrows, separates the peanuts from the vines, and deposits them into a hopper.  The hoppers are dumped into special wagons and hauled off to a processing facility.  Air is then forced through the wagons to further dry the peanuts before grading and storing or shipping.

And by the way, peanuts are not nuts.

They are officially classified as legumes, partly because of their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil.  This makes them an important part of Southern crop rotation schedules.

Which brings us to our history lesson the day.  Why did George Wasington Carver monkey around so much with peanuts?

Because he understood how rotating peanuts with cotton would help return fertility to Southern soils worn out by decades of cotton-only cultivation.

Honey roasted legumes anyone?

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Posted in: Travel - Alabama