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How a Commercial Peanut Farmer Uses 100-Year-Old Methods

Farmer Elisha Barnes even uses a machine from the 1920s

“It’s antiquated, and people call me crazy for doing it,” says Elisha Barnes of Pop Son Farms in Southampton County, Virginia. He’s talking about the laborious ways in which he farms the peanuts that end up in your trail mix, in packages sold at baseball stadiums, and on grocery store shelves. He’s the only commercial farmer in the United States who grows and harvests peanuts using century-old methods.

“For me, it’s rewarding, it’s an honor,” says Barnes. “Who would have ever thought that the son of a sharecropper would be standing on the land that he now owns and farming peanuts the way that my father and his father did? That speaks volumes for me.”

In this episode of “Dan Does,” host Daniel Geneen catches Barnes towards the end of his farm’s yield, which sees Barnes going around his farm with a pitchfork pulling up the remaining peanuts.

After the remaining peanuts are pulled out of the ground, he shocks the peanuts, or stacks them, on poles that are sticking out of the ground. They stay on these poles for about six weeks until Barnes pulls out the stakes with his tracker to get the vines ready for the picker, which separates the peanuts from the vine.

Barnes uses a picking machine from 1920 that he is constantly modifying to fit with his tractor from the 1960s. “This is so old, the manufacturer for this is long been dead,” says Barnes.

From here, the peanuts will get separated and sold as Hubs Single Origin Peanuts. Watch the full video to see how the peanuts get de-shelled, then packaged by Hubs Peanuts to be shipped across the country.

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