It's no secret cotton is prevalent in Hale County, but in recent years a new crop has moved to town. This crop isn't grown here, but blanched. We're talking about peanuts and the new peanut Corporation of America Plant right here in Plainview.
It's only been open since march but the Peanut Corporation of America is already processing 10,000 pounds of peanuts every hour. Manager Jim Booher explains how it works.
"We get the peanuts from the sheller in 2000 pound bags or tote boxes. They are already shelled all we do is remove the skin, so when we get the peanuts, you have to take them through a dehydrating oven that takes about 2% of the moisture out and makes the skin loose on the peanut so it's easy to come off," said Booher.
Then the nuts are sent through the blanching equipment.
"The skin is removed and sucked out through a skin house, then we collect all the skins and sell them as a source of protein to the cattle lots around this area. Finally the peanuts are scanned by an electric eye for flaws. Then sent through a metal detector," said Booher.
"Then after that we put the peanuts in a bag after they are blanched and the skins are removed and we send those out the peanuts come to Plainview from area growers, generally from golden peanut in Seagraves, or birdsong in Brownfield, and the shellers decide where the peanuts will be shipped after blanching," said Booher.
"There's a lot of peanuts grown Southwest of here, South of Lubbock and there are some even just West of us that grow Valencia peanuts, the ballpark peanuts that you see in shell. But, birdsong invested $30 million or more into a shelling operation in Brownfield so we followed suit and came here. We are probably one of the only blanchers in a 300 mile radius," said Booher.
And, this blanching company is growing...
"We just currently added a granulating line where we are actually roasting peanuts and putting them in 30 pound boxes and they are going all over the country too. And, those are my customers, most of them are ice cream manufactures, bakeries, and candy stores," said Booher.
That all adds up to more than one million nuts every hour. Jim hopes to add a peanut oil line and peanut butter in the future.
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