As American statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin grew older, he had trouble seeing both up-close and at a distance through his glasses. Getting tired of switching between two types of glasses, he devised an improvement on the traditional spectacles—and bifocal lenses were born. There’s always room for improvement and progress; not only in the necessities we use every day, but also for the agricultural crops we grow and the foods we eat.
Peanut popularity on America’s menus is on the rise. According to Mintel data, menu items with peanuts increased 8.6% during the first quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year. Let’s dive deeper into where these increases are happening and the trends driving the change.
Plant-based diets are becoming a growing phenomenon, but you may be wondering, what does this type of eating really entail and what are the benefits?
Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods that come primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
The image that comes to mind for many Americans when they hear the word farmer is an older man in dusty overalls not unlike the portrait painted in Grant Wood’s American Gothic. While that is a quaint notion, it hardly conforms to the reality of today’s diverse and innovative agricultural industry. We spoke with three young, female peanut farmers who are challenging the conventional stereotype of farmers, and are poised to become the next generation of leaders in the industry. They are helping to shape the future of the peanut industry, and proving that farming is diverse, technologically advanced, and anything but quaint.
The average peanut farm is about 200 acres. Farmers work closely with their local community agriculture businesses to sell and distribute their harvests, maintain farm equipment and invest in their land. For many rural areas, farmers are an economic and social keystone; linking neighbors in a web of social and economic relationships and contributing to local causes.
One-third of consumers worldwide prefer to buy food from sustainable brands.
That’s according to a recent surveyof 20,000 adults from five countries, including the U.S, which was conducted by Unilever – a transnational consumer goods company.
After attending Menus of Change(MOC), an annual summit hosted by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, I learned how the food service industry is making moves to listen to consumers’ concerns. The good news is that chefs and other food service leaders are working to improve environmental health – but there is still great need for change in one specific area: water sustainability.
Peanut breeders are thinking small and innovating with peanuts seeds to improve the sustainability of peanut production. Developing new varieties that maximize peanuts’ already sustainable traits can help reduce the environmental impact of peanut farming, make production more cost-effective for farmers, and make peanuts one of the most sustainable crops.
Peanuts are one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly food sources available today. A feature of its growing cycle—self-pollination—makes peanuts environmentally-friendly. Self-pollination means peanuts do not require outside aid—such as bees, other insects or the wind—to carry pollen from one plant to another in reproduction. Very few plants pollinate independently of insects, bees or wind. Self-pollination is most often seen in legumes (peanuts are legumes) and in many kinds of orchids, peas, sunflowers and daisies.
The Carolina African Runner peanut, once thought extinct, re-emerges, giving farmers and chefs a new culinary adventure. At Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Lab, horticulturist Dr. Brian Ward stands for hours at a time carefully hand sorting, shelling and cleaning a small, distinctive and somewhat celebrated peanut known as the Carolina African Runner peanut. And like most rare finds, it has a story behind it.
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