Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Peanut Patch

Last Friday we made a return visit to the Peanut Patch to take the tour.  We were expecting a tour of an operating peanut farm and were quite disappointed when it turned out to simply be a presentation from the owner of the Peanut Patch about their history and Peanut farming in Az.

Turns out that about 15 years ago an infestation of White Fly took hold in the area and Peanut plants are their favourite meal.  Since Agriculture is the main source of income in the area it was decided that all peanut farms would cease operation in the hopes of being able to control the White Fly and keep them from doing significant damage to the other crops in the area.  While they have not been eradicated they have been controlled however Peanut farming will probably never make a reappearance in this area.  She did warn us to never go out into a farmers field to eat any of the vegetables as they may just have been sprayed with pesticides.

There were about 35 of us at the presentation and I'd say at least 20 were from Alberta, a few from BC and SK with us being the only ones from Mb.  Rounding out the group were a couple of native Yumans.    The population of Yuma is about 95,000 and that doubles when the winter snowbirds arrive.  Based on the license plates in the RV park and the malls I'd say the majority of the snowbirds are from Canada with Alberta leading the parade.  Will be interesting to see what the depressed oil prices and low Loonie do to those numbers next year.  

When we went into the presentation we weren't quite sure whether peanuts came from a tree or shrub.  Turns out they are a plant that sends "runners" from the stem back down into the earth where the peanuts form below the surface.  Not really a root plant but more like a potato.  They are a nitrogen fixing plant and the green tops are very nutritious feed for animals.  So much so that Sheep ranchers from northern Arizona would bring their livestock down to feed on the plants after harvesting was done.

Did you know Peanuts are not nuts but rather they belong to the Legume family.      

 Here is one of the original peanut harvesting machines.  Not too unlike an old potato harvester.
 Want to make some peanut butter.  Pour some peanuts in the top hopper and out comes some crunchy peanut butter.  No other additives, just pure peanuts.
 Machines for dying peanuts.
 They make their own peanut brittle and we were warned to keep our hands in our pockets cause if we touch it we had to purchase all 17 pounds.

Their store with all sorts of goodies. Very hard to resist stocking up.

Thats it for now.  Next up a trip to the Yuma Air Circus