Late last fall, to my great surprise and immeasurable pleasure, my farmer friend Syed brought crates and crates of peanuts to my farmers market from his farm in nearby New Jersey, Lani’s Farm. That’s right. Local peanuts. Fresh from the ground this far north of the Mason Dixon line. They were clumped together and covered in New Jersey dirt, and I couldn’t wait to get them home. I washed them about a dozen times to get them clean, boiled them in salted water, and went to work peeling them. They were so luscious that I hovered over the bowl removing the shells and stuffing my face as fast as I could, undoubtedly looking like someone who hadn’t eaten in days. I returned to Syed’s stand every week to buy a few more pounds until the season ended, when I began immediately to look forward to this year’s crop.
But this year there was no peanut crop. When I asked Syed in midsummer when I could expect the first harvest, he looked at me as if he were about to break my heart. And then he did. The relentless spring rains and soggy fields had put them so far behind in their planting schedule that they never got around to getting the peanut seedlings into the ground. I tried not to look as if I were about to burst into tears, and Syed promised me that he would plant them next year.
And I promised that I would wait.