Monday, October 7, 2019
By: Jennifer Bearden
Peanuts are pretty big business here in Okaloosa county. In 2015 we harvested 2,049 acres of peanuts, for about 8.1 million pounds. That’s enough peanuts to make over 82 million peanut butter sandwiches. So, suffice it to say, peanuts are an important crop for us here.
Peanuts and peanut butter are also protein rich foods that are good at lowering your cholesterol. Peanut butter has a long shelf life and doesn’t need refrigeration after opening. This puts peanut butter on the most wanted list for food pantries.
For these reasons, University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) extension and the Florida Peanut Producers Association have partnered since 2012 to provide food pantries with peanut butter each year.
The Peanut butter drive starts each year in October and runs until Thanksgiving.
Each year the Florida Peanut Producers Association matches what is collected so that we double the peanut butter donated to local food pantry. The peanut butter collected in Okaloosa county, plus the match, is distributed in Okaloosa county.
For 2018, the Okaloosa County extension office, along with several partnering agencies, collected 1,902 jars of peanut butter. So approximately 2,000 jars of peanut butter were distributed to local food pantries as a result of this partnership. We hope for an even more successful you know better drive in 2019. The drive starts now and runs until Thanksgiving.
Peanut butter challenge drop-off locations:
Okaloosa County Extension Office
3098 Airport Road in Crestview
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Okaloosa County Farm Bureau Office
921 West James Lee Blvd. (Hwy. 90) in Crestview
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
3070 Adora Teal Way in Crestview
Open Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Note: Some locations will be closed Monday, November 11 for Veteran’s Day
Jennifer Bearden is the Interim County Extension Director and Agriculture Agent for University of Florida IFAS in Okaloosa County.