It’s peanut time

Published 11:00 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

Friendly folks boil away in Luverne

Twenty-five tons of peanuts is a lot of goobers.

And it takes a lot of heat to fire the pots that boil the peanuts for the World’s Largest Peanut Boil in Luverne each Labor Day weekend.

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The Crenshaw County Shrine Club had the heat under five vats that hold 600 pounds of peanuts each on Friday and Mother Nature added her own kind of warmth to the “World’s Largest Peanut Boil.” But the hundreds who crowded into the Shriners’ open-air building didn’t seem to mind the heat one bit.

“I don’t care how hot it gets or how far I have to come, I’m going to get here if I can every Labor Day,” said Louise Flowers of Montgomery County. “These are the best peanuts that you can get anywhere.”

Becky Turman of Brantley said, too, that the Crenshaw County Shrine Club’s annual peanut boil is the goober place to be.

“I’ve been coming for years and this year I brought my sister, Carol Dean from Dothan,” Turman said. “I wanted her come to the boil and see for herself what it’s all about.”

“What it’s all about” is raising money for the Crenshaw County Shrine Club and the Alcazar Temple and bringing the community together in friendship and fellowship.

“This is our 41st year, and it takes a lot of long hours of hard, hot work but we all enjoy it,” said Andy Compton, spokesman for the Shrine club.

Compton said the World’s Largest Peanut Boil is a tradition, not just in Luverne and Crenshaw County but all across the area.

“We have a lot of tourists but most of our customers are from the area and just beyond” he said. “The World’s Largest Peanut Boil is a Labor Day tradition.” So much of a tradition, Compton said, that some folks come that don’t even like boiled peanuts. They just come to be a part of the spirit of the harvest season.

Compton said the funds raised each year support the local Shrine Club and the Alcazar Temple. “The funds are used locally to meet the expenses that we have associated with the peanut boil and the upkeep of our building,” Compton said. “We own the building and the property. The Alcazar Temple uses the money to support its charitable endeavors all around the country. We’re proud to be a part of helping people in need.”

Boiling 25 tons of peanuts has gotten a little easier for the Shriners and the many volunteers since there are no more pots to stir.

“We put in these big vats and they hold 600 pounds of peanuts each,” Compton said. “We have to add water to them but we don’t have to stand over a hot pot and stir. And, that’s a relief.”

But, in keeping with tradition, the Shriners have four of the old stir pots boiling “for a touch of nostalgia,” Compton said.

“People like to see the peanuts boiling,” he said. “But the new way sure makes it easier. You can only boil 40 pounds of peanuts in each of the pots compared to 600 pounds in each of the vats. And, it take three hours to boil the peanuts in each so that’s a big difference.” Compton said the World’s Largest Peanut Boil will continue through Labor Day or until all of the goobers are gone.

In addition to the boiled peanuts, the Shriners also have a ton of parched peanuts and they almost always sell out of both.

“We’ve been doing this a long time and we have a lot of good help,” Compton said. “The Key Club at Luverne High School helps us every year and we’ve got a bunch of very dedicated volunteers. “We’ve got some new members of the Shrine club and some younger ones, so maybe we’ll keep this peanut boiling tradition going for another 40 years or so.”