It’s tempting to underestimate peanuts. Boiled peanuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cocktail nuts and desserts are what most Americans think of when considering peanuts. But because this humble legume can be used in both sweet and savory flavor profiles, there’s no limit to its use in all kinds of dishes. Peanuts also are a guilt-free ingredient —packed with protein, antioxidants, mono-unsaturated fats and several essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, gallstones and weight gain. 

In addition, peanuts are a boon to the Southern economy. Alabama farmers harvest more than 400 million pounds of peanuts annually, and half the peanuts grown in the U.S. are harvested within 100 miles of Dothan. 

Baldwin County’s Mark and Sabrina Kaiser are fourth-generation peanut farmers. Mark’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary and began farming in Baldwin County in the early 1900s. His grandfather became involved with the Alabama Farmers Federation in its infancy, and the Kaisers have been active members since. Mark currently serves on the county Federation board and on the Alabama Peanut Producers Association’s board. 

“I’ve always loved working on the farm with the family,” Sabrina said. “These days I still do the books for the farm, but years ago, I had another job and worked on the farm, too. Mark would call me while I was at work and tell me they needed help. My boss was understanding, so I’d leave my job and go work on the farm.”

Sabrina enjoys cooking with and eating peanuts, too. 

“For as long as I can remember, my mom made chocolate peanut butter balls,” she said. “I always helped her roll the balls and dip them in chocolate.”