World’s largest peanut boil under way

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 4, 2009

If Johnny Cash were around Luverne on Labor Day, he would be singing about 16 tons of peanuts instead of 16 tons of Number 9 coal.

Each Labor Day weekend for “30-bunches” of years, the Crenshaw County Shrine Club has been hosting the World’s Largest Peanut Boil and each year the Shriners boil and sell about 14 tons of peanuts.

“We have a grower in Jay, Fla. who grows peanuts especially for our annual peanut boil,” said Shelton Morrell, Shrine club president. “Holland Farms grows them for us because they have to be harvested earlier than other peanuts around here in order to be ready for us to boil for Labor Day weekend. This year, we’ve got 14 tons but they’ve got two tons in reserve, just in case we need them.”

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The World’s Largest Peanut Boil has become a Labor Day tradition for people within a 60-mile radius of Luverne and maybe even outside that. Those going to and from the beaches take time to pull into the Shriner’s shelter and load up with boiled goober peas, which the Shriners say can’t be beaten.

“Most of the boiled peanuts you get around here are those jumbo kind and they’re not as sweet and good as the ones we’ve got,” said Andy Compton. “We’ve got what they call Georgia runners, and they’re as good a boiled peanut as you can get.”

The World’s Largest Peanut Boil is the Shriners largest club fundraiser and, for the Shriners, Labor Day is just that — labor.

“We took the trailer down to be loaded on Tuesday and we started boiling early Wednesday morning,” Morrell said. “By Wednesday afternoon, we had all the pots going, 12 pots and the one big cooker. The pots hold 45 to 50 pounds and the cooker about 600 pounds. It takes the pots about two-and-a-half to get ready and the cooker about four and a half.”

The pots won’t stop boiling until all the peanuts are gone, hopefully, by Sunday afternoon so the Shriners can go home an rest on Labor Day.

“If we still have peanuts, we’ll be here on Monday, though,” Morrell said.

The Shriners will also have roasted peanuts for those who prefer them.

The peanuts are sold in two sizes, a $3 bag and a $6 bag.

The Shriners invite everybody who loves boiled peanuts to come to the World’s Largest Peanut Boil Labor Day weekend but don’t wait too long because 14 tons of boiled peanuts will only go so far.