What’s the best way to learn about peanuts and peanut butter? Dive deep into the South – a land of boiled peanuts and unbeatable hospitality – and stand in the peanut fields alongside local farmers.
In early June, the Harvest team worked with Southern Peanut Growers (SPG), which represents the peanut farmers of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, to bring chefs and foodservice professionals to Jackson, Miss.
While the chefs explored the peanut industry, from field to table, the event served as a launchpad for SPG’s PLUS UP foodservice program. Peanuts, peanut butter and peanut products offer limitless opportunities to PLUS UP the innovation, nutrition and profitability for restaurant menus across the country. After visiting the farm, the chefs spent the following day at the US Foods Jackson facility and kitchen developing recipes that prove the PLUS UP concept.
Chef creations feature peanuts and Southern influence
Our hands-down, favorite part was watching the chefs meld their experiences in the Deep South into new culinary creations. Clearly inspired by their immersion in the Peanut Belt, dishes included blackened catfish coated with a mixture of peanut butter powder and spices, Vietnamese pho-spiced boiled peanuts, and spring rolls influenced by the on-farm fish fry.
We’re excited to report immediate results from the PLUS UP workshop:
- A fast-casual restaurant with soon-to-be 10 locations plans to change their sourcing to U.S.-grown peanuts.
- A popular West Coast grocery chain plans to adopt more savory, cold-prep items featuring peanuts.
Overall, it was a successful event that brought peanut farmers and foodservice professionals together to learn from each other. As one chef put it, “Seeing how peanuts are grown gives us knowledge that helps us be better culinarians when we use them.”