PEANUT BOIL: ‘World largest’ boil begins in Luverne

Published 4:00 am Friday, August 30, 2019

On Labor Day Weekend, all roads lead to Luverne, Alabama.

The World Largest Peanut Boil is more than a tasty tradition for the sponsoring Crenshaw County Shriners. It’s a dedicated part of their lives.

Boiling peanuts on Labor Day Weekend has been a tradition for the Crenshaw County Shrine Club for 49 years and counting. And, for just that many years, people have come from east, west north and south, to buy the best boiled peanuts on the planet.

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If there is a secret ingredient in the boiling pot, mums the word among the Shriners. But ask those that wait patiently for the pots to boil.

“I don’t know what it is about these peanuts but they’re better than any you’ll get anywhere,” said Louise Williams, “from over in Bullock County. “I’d rather have a bag of these peanuts than a new Sunday dress.”

A gentleman down line said some folks would walk a mile to get a Camel cigarette.

“But, I’d ride a camel all across the desert to get a bag of these boiled peanut!”

Whether folks come on a mule and wagon or a shiny, stretch limousine, they come, and in droves.

On Thursday afternoon, a crowd of folks from everywhere waited patiently for the pots to boil. And, it would be a while.

“The peanuts will come off around 5 p.m. Andy Compton, an “overseer” told the growing crowd. “But, we’ve got plenty of parched peanuts ready right now.”

Bill Schofield and Donna Baker were sacking the parched “or roasted” peanuts and they were going fast.

“Some people say they didn’t know we had parched peanuts but we do and, to me, they are as good parched as they are boiled,” Baker said. “The difference between roasted and parched peanuts is where you’re from. If you’re from the city or up North, they’re roasted. If you’re from the country or the South, they’re parched. Either way, they’re good.”

Compton said the Shriners can brag on the quality of the peanuts they boil or parch.

“We get our peanuts from Holland Farm in Jay, Florida and they can’t be beat for quality or for consistency,” he said. “We’ve never gotten a bad peanut and we get a ton. Actually ‘a’ ton for parching and 30 tons for boiling.”

And if history repeats itself for the 49th time, all 40 tons will be sold by Monday at the latest.

“We hope the peanuts will hold out until Labor Day…however. All we can say if they don’t is ‘pardon our success.’”