Royal Oaks Peanuts: Pegs’ Wonderful Peanut Adventure!

Royal Oaks Peanuts: Pegs’ Wonderful Peanut Adventure!


Meg and I were invited by the National Peanut Board to fly to Richmond, Virginia and learn all about peanuts! We were beyond excited as we would be eating some amazing peanut inspired cuisine AND  going to visit Hope and Harmony Farms (also known as Royal Oaks) Peanut farm located just outside of  Richmond.

Unfortunately Meg was unable to go, however I went and had quite a memorable experience.  I’ve shared some of my highlights here that shows the deliciousness of this adventure!

Before I share about the highlights of this adventure, I wanted to share one of the most important take aways from this amazing experience: know your peanut farmer or brands for quality and mold content. Yes, a great majority of peanuts contain mold because of how they are stored. There are specific types of peanuts, and it appears Valencia grown peanuts have the least amount of mold due to the arid climate they are grown in. The mold grows on in the peanuts and contains a toxic substance when stored improperly or grown in wet or damp climates. So if you are a peanut lover, make sure you are buying high quality mold free peanut butter or make your own!

Once I arrived in Richmond I settled into my room at the beautiful Berkeley boutique hotel. I had a short time before dinner so I walked around and fell in love with this historical gem of a city.  I was so excited, I jumped for joy along the James Canal!

And so our culinary gastro-gasim began with a private cooking dinner demonstration that was completely peanut inspired prepared by Richmond’s Roosevelt Chef Lee Gregory. AND what an amazing dinner indeed! Gregory delighted all our senses.  AND he was so wonderful to make everything gluten free!

We started the night with peanut infused rum paired with a  country pate. BTW the rum was awesome!

The gluten free version of the late we paired with Jilz Crakers. I always carry them when traveling!

Our first course was a sweet potato and peanut soup with a bacon garnish (vegan without the bacon).

It was so smooth with a subtle peanut flavor. A great new Fall soup to add to our repertoire.

The main course was outstanding! The meal included a melt in your mouth pork belly, a peanut Johnny cake, (adding peanut flour with the corn was a great new idea!), fried rice with broccoli, kimchee and a peanut sauce ( hoping chef will share this, because this was an outstanding dish!), roasted brussels, apple, peanut fermented golden raisins, in another amazing peanut dressing!

AND THEN CAME THE STAR… Peanut panna cotta, apple butter peanut brittle with a grape sorbet that was beyond amazing! It was like the best PB and J on steroids! We all were dying over this dessert!

I can not begin to tell you how amazing this night’s meal was! It was worth the long flight across the country, that was for sure!

And then you think,  how could it get any better! Well the next day was unbelievable!

The next morning we woke at the crack of dawn to drive to Drewryville to visit a 4th generation peanut farm and learn all about peanut farming, harvesting, and how the Pope family, have raised their family and built their peanut business. We learned about the ups and downs of farming and all that the family endures to continue growing peanuts. Lets face it, farming is hard work. The Pope’s have a wonderful family creed when it comes to  raising their childrenand growing their family’s peanut business~ Love your land. Respect your roots. Give your best.  Their girls work on the farm before and after school and they have great respect for the land… they’ve learned about patience, and know how hard their parents work to provide for the family. Demands are great! So when a good healthy crop yields a good return, it insures the possibility for next years growing season! And in the end, its a business made from devotion, commitment, and endless energy. Peanuts is their livelihood. I have a new even greater admiration and gratitude for our farmers today after spending time with the Pope family.

Meet peanut farmer Jeffery Pope. Passionate. Knowledgeable. And an all around GREAT human!

We learned computerized tractors help keep rows even!

I’m a lover of John Deere!

Lunch was superb~ thanks to Chef Corey Duncan, The Catering Place.  Chef Corey and his crew served up a stunning peanut themed farm to table lunch for us all!

The Peanut hummus was wonderful! It had boiled and roasted peanuts, chickpeas and smoked salt.

Kale salad with “Surryanno” ham, honey goat cheese, roasted peanuts and a charred shallot peanut vinaigrette and cornbread croutons. All gluten free! WOW!!! Stunning presentation!

Heirloom potato salad with fresh sage, smoked sea salt, tossed in whole grain mustard

Peanut collard slaw with shaved onion, pickled okra, Napa cabbage and scallions!

Peanut dusted quail over a bed of cubed squashes and heirloom beets, bell pepper pesto, peanut sesame coulis and sweet chili peanut pesto.

Masterful Chef Corey Duncan sharing about his peanut inspired lunch. Maple spiced roasted baby carrots with cinnamon butter and Peanut smoked pork tenderloin with a basil-lavender pesto, roasted red pepper chutney and roasted garlic aioli. A WOW menu and meal! Thanks Chef! You out did yourself!

The plate below of our entire meal.

I must say chef’s condiments were stellar! Each one complimented all the dishes.

For dessert Chef served warmed peanut butter scones with bananas foster and peanut brittle!  The scone was not gluten free, however Chef created a beautiful rendition just for us gluten free-ers so we never felt left out! So grateful.

Check out Royal Oak and Hope & Harmony Farms brands of peanuts. I brought home a sriracha lime to share with the family, and plan on ordering some for this year’s holiday gifts!

Who knew that in 1 oz., or a handful of peanuts, is 7 grams of protien. Peanuts are high in B vitamins, folate, niacin, phosphorous, magnesium and fiber! Peanuts are good for you! However, I do add a bit of caution not to over eat too many nuts in general. For some people, nuts can be hard to digest and hard on our gall bladder, like yours truly. So I make sure I limit myself to a handful or less a day.

Yes we were inspired!  We learned a lot of new and wonderful ways to incorporate peanuts into our diet, and cooking! Toss peanuts diced into salads, sprinkled over vegetables, add them into your sauces, add peanut butter into your smoothie~ check out Meg’s PB and Jelly back to school smoothie HERE! AND our Curry family favorite is to make a baggie or small bowl of peanuts with bittersweet chocolate chips for a quick grab and go nutritious sweet treat!

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite ways are to add peanuts into your dishes.

Stephanie Pope manages many jobs on the farm, one of them is the peanut packaging side of their family business. The cans of Hope & Harmony and Royal Oaks peanuts help supplement their farm should disaster strike their crops and yield.  They even do private labeling for special unique gifts to give!

I want to thank the National Peanut Board for reaching out to Curry Girls! You all did an amazing job educating and inspiring us about peanut farming, it’s production as well as the culinary versatility and nutritional benefits of this wonderful USA grown crop. WE ARE INSPIRED! WE ARE GRATEFUL!

Here’s to our peanut gallery of new friends! A huge thank you to Stephanie and Jeffrey Pope for opening up your home, sharing your life stories and passion with us, and allowing us to experience a snip-it of time in your day as we celebrated your peanut harvest!

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