Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Short Peanut

Are you up on your food news?

If so, then you heard last fall that Georgia, the largest producer of peanuts, experienced a peanut shortage.  Land that used to be planted in peanuts, was planted to cotton instead. Then, a dry, red summer cut a chunk out of the crop.  What resulted was a decrease in peanuts and an increase in prices. 

Peanut butter is now pricey.

In the summer of 2011, the Omaha Whole Foods store carried a 36 ounce jar of natural, no sugar added, peanut butter for $3.99.   At the beginning of 2012, the same store carried the same product but the price had increased to $5.69.  Just a couple of months later, that same amount of peanut butter now costs $5.99. 

There was a peanut shortage in 1981, and one in 1902 reported on by the New York Times, "This shortage, dealers say, will cause much higher prices before the new crop begins to arrive next Fall. The average crop of peanuts amounts to about 1,200,000 bushels, but last year's crop, now being sold, is very short. The hot weather and drought of last year rendered it so, the total holdings of to-day being estimate at about 200,000 bags, the greater part held by cleaners."

(An aside - Kenneth Goldsmith retyped an entire day's edition of the New York Times and published it as a book titled Day. The project was an experiment in uncreative writing.  If I did this, I would choose to do so with an issue of the NYT from one hundred years ago, when language was usually gouty and florid.)

We are faced with many food issues; food scarcity, food insecurity, agricultural monocultures, etc.  But sometimes it is good to take a break from the truth of reality and enjoy the truth of imagination.  How would you solve the peanut shortage if no resource, whether of magical or scientific in origin, was restricted?  Would you inflate peanuts to the size of a giant and slice off layers as needed?  Actually, that image seems terrifyingly sacrificial.  Would you export peanut plants to Mars and then devise a rocket distribution system?

I will eat a peanut butter cookie and think on this a while longer. I just happen to have made a batch for a friend, and the smell is wafting from the kitchen and begging to be made tangible in my mouth.

Here's a reminder of what our Dimples look like.  Now, if we ever want to get them in the hands of the public, I have to sign off and get back to very important bakery tasks!

 ~ Trilety

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