Plains, Peanuts And A President: The 21st Annual Plains Peanut Festival Celebrates The Harvest And Honors Our 39th President Jimmy Carter

Sep 12, 2017

The 21st Annual Plains, Georgia Peanut Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 23.  This year’s festival is themed “Plains, Peanuts and a President”. For the past two decades, the tiny town of Plains, Georgia, population 700, swells to more than ten times its usual size, to celebrate the harvest of its cash crop, peanuts. Georgia leads the nation in annual peanut production, with a 600 million dollar crop that accounts for nearly half of all the peanuts grown in the USA.

There is no bigger advocate of the industry than President Jimmy Carter, who went so far as to plant peanuts in the White House Rose Garden during his term in office. In scientific studies, the humble peanut is proving to have more and more significant health benefits every day, and worldwide is becoming one of the most affordable and environmentally sustainable sources of protein.

Peanut Butter is the largest category of usage of all peanut products – using over 50% of peanuts grown in the United States. With that in mind, Mill Simmons, President of the Plains Better Hometown Program, announced today that the Grand Marshall for this year’s Parade will be the J.M. Smucker Company, makers of Jif Peanut Butter.  With more than 40% of the peanut butter market, Jif is by far the brand leader in the U.S.  However, it is only one brand among 15 kinds of peanut butter by marketed Smucker’s, which is based in Orrville, Ohio.

“The volume of peanuts purchased for the Jif products is tremendous, and certainly has a major positive impact on Plains and other peanut production areas of Georgia and the United States, said Mill Simmons. “It is a pleasure to recognize the J.M. Smucker Company for their leadership role in the peanut industry.  We look forward to honoring the company that has made ‘Choosy Moms choose Jif’ a household expression.”

Serving as Grand Marshall on behalf of Smucker’s will be Jenn Freeman, Vice President of Marketing for Consumer Foods.

In the last twelve months research continues to support the many health benefits of peanuts.  A meta-analysis of over twenty population studies involving 820,000 participants shows that consuming a little less than a serving (20 grams) a day of peanuts is an effective way to reduce heart disease and as well as risk of death from other causes such as cancer.

This research was reported in the British Medical Journal and conducted at the Imperial College London School of Public Health.

In March, research from the Pennsylvania State University shows a new way in which peanuts may reduce the risk of heart disease.  This study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, is the first to show that peanuts, especially, peanut protein and bioactives, help keep your arteries flexible.

Peanuts contain more protein than any other nut and, more arginine than most other foods.  This is important because arginine is used to make nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps keep blood vessels open and elastic.

This study is novel because it shows a new way in which peanuts reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Peanuts received a FDA Qualified Health Claim for Heart Health in 2003.  It was based primarily on studies showing benefits of the good mono and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts.  However, this study is the first to demonstrate that peanut protein and bioactives keep your arteries healthy and also contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease.

Sponsors for the 2017 Festival include:

  • Golden Peanut & Tree Nuts Company
  • Mars Chocolate North America
  • The J. M. Smucker Company
  • The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Birdsong Peanuts
  • National Peanut Board
  • Premium Peanut, LLC
  • Georgia Federal State Inspection Service
  • American Blanching Company
  • American Peanut Shellers Association
  • The Peanut Institute
  • National Peanut Buying Points Association
  • Georgia Peanut Commission

Plains Better Hometown coordinator Ruth Sanders notes the Festival is only a few weeks away.

Please visit the website for information on the Schedule of Events including Road Race Applications, Parade Applications and Vendor Information.  Mrs. Sanders encourages all to mark your calendar for Saturday, September 23rd and join us in Plains, or join sponsor Golden Peanuts and Tree Nuts’ social media channels, Facebook and YouTube for live coverage of President Carter’s speech and the festival’s parade.