Top 3 Peanut Podcast Moments

Logo of The Peanut Podcast is a peanut in place of a microphone.Sep 1, 2023

It’s been an amazing year for The Peanut Podcast sharing the voices and experiences of the peanut industry. In recognition of International Podcast Day on September 30 and the one-year anniversary of The Peanut Podcast, we wanted to celebrate and share a few favorite memories from our episodes, according to co-hosts Lindsay Stevens and Lauren Highfill Williams and Engineer and Sound Designer DeMarquiné Houston.

#1 Dan Ward’s “Seven Generations in One Field”

Farming is often a generational calling with the land and business remaining in the family and peanut farmers are no exception to this. Dan Ward is a seventh-generation farmer in Clarkston, North Carolina and was featured in our second episode, “The New Frontier of Sustainability.” He recounted the memory of meeting his first grandchild, Blakely, on their family farm.

“Blakely was two days old. Emily and Shawn brought her home from the hospital. They came out and found me. I was spraying peanuts, and they said we're bringing the baby over to you. I said, Okay, I was in a peanut field. And I've got this awesome picture. We laid Blakely down in between two peanut rows, and on a blanket. And we were at the original family cemetery. So, Emily and Sean are the eighth generation to farm here on our land. Blakely is the ninth generation of this family, and whether she farms I have, you know, she's three months old, we'd have no idea. But Daddy was spraying in another part of the field. And so at that moment, I looked at that family cemetery and we were like, 50 feet from the family cemetery. And I looked at that family cemetery, and there's seven generations present in one spot, right there, seven generations present on that little piece of land right there.”

#2 Mark Dvorak's “The Day Everything Changed for Peanut Allergy Prevention”

In the episode, “The Peanut Allergy Journey Part 2,” Mark Dvorak spoke to the groundbreaking LEAP study released in 2015, which showed introducing peanut foods to infants as early as 4-6 months can help prevent a potential peanut allergy. The LEAP study identified 640 infants between the ages of 4-11 months with either severe eczema, egg allergy or both. These infants, considered high-risk for peanut allergy, were randomly assigned to two groups – one that consumed peanuts and one that avoided consumption. Infants assigned to the group which consumed peanuts were given at least 1 ¼ teaspoon of either smooth peanut butter or Bamba, a peanut-containing snack consumed regularly by children in Israel.

Within the group consuming peanuts, the infants were further segmented into those with a mild reaction to a peanut skin-prick test and those with none. An oral food challenge was used to determine true peanut allergy in 617 of the subjects. The study showed that early consumption benefited both groups in reducing the prevalence of peanut allergy.

Mark has worked with the Board for more than 15 years through the Board’s PR and marketing agency, Golin. Over the past couple of years, Mark’s focus has been on food allergy and promoting early introduction of peanuts.

"I remember the day that the LEAP study came out like it was yesterday. It was February of 2015 in Houston, Texas at the gathering of AAAAI, and we didn't know what exactly it was going to say, but we knew it was going to be good news, or at least thought that was the impression that certainly had that had been shared with us and because it was such a big deal,” said Mark. “Not only did it get the allergy and pediatric community excited, but we saw lots and lots of coverage in the mainstream media about the study. It was 180 degrees different from what pediatricians for the most part had been telling parents for most of the past generation.”

#3 Neal Baxley's “The Blackbirds”

One of our recent episodes, “Peanut Production Across Different Regions” covered how peanut farmers experience different practices and challenges across the country. NPB South Carolina Board Member and seventh-generation farmer Neal Baxley works with his dad and brother on their family farm. They were familiar with the usual animals who like to eat the peanut plants – deer or hogs. However, their farm is in the migratory path for blackbirds in the fall.

"I try to rush and rush and get all my peanuts out of the field before the first of November. I need to get them out in the end of October because the weather changes and cold weather will push [the blackbirds] down and they move through end of October 1, part of November. And there's nothing more they love than peanuts. There will be hundreds of thousands of blackbirds in the field and they'll pluck the peanuts off the vine, they'll fly over into your neighbor's yard eat the peanuts throw the hulls out in his yard. So, you've lost your peanut and then the neighbors complain because he's got peanut hulls all over his yard. But they're looking for a healthy and nutritious food to get them to their next step on migration, so I guess they're looking and peanuts fit the bill perfectly.”

You can learn more about the peanut industry and all it encompasses by listening to The Peanut Podcast here.

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