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Good News: Celebrating a Southern delicacy

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*(WTOC)
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 2:16 PM EDT
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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - Hot or cold and from the beach to the ballpark, boiled peanuts are a signature Southern snack.

“I started out by putting the crock pot on the corner of the bar I worked at when I was at art school in Savannah,” Jared Jester said.

Boiled peanuts have always worked for Jester.

“I used to use them to close business deals for my web development sales and website development. People often didn’t know what the boiled peanut was, so it was an ice breaker to start the conversation or the pitch to sell a mobile app,” Jester said.

So now, Jester is working for the boiled peanut.

“Basically, the goal is to broadcast awareness for the boiled peanut, to let folks recognize in our own state, look this is special,” he said.

Jester has brought attention to the squishy Southern delicacy by placing the World’s Largest Boiled Peanut on Highway 46 in Bluffton, S.C.

And by convincing the state to recognize it as the Official Snack Food of South Carolina.

“South Carolina is the only state that has legislation attached to the boiled peanut,” he said.

For the last three years, boiled peanuts have been Jester’s life and livelihood. His Heritage Peanut Company is one of Bluffton’s fastest growing businesses, currently producing 20,000 pounds of vacuum-sealed nuts per month in what is the snack’s slow season.

“Now they’re hard to come by because there’s only a handful of growers, only two that are growing them in the U.S. But moving forward, we would like to increase our production to 80,000 pounds per week, or actually per month,” Jester said.

In season, Heritage sources peanuts from Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. And they are having success getting their product out, too.

“Right now, they are in the stores of Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly and soon to be in some other grocery stores around. We are working with a bunch of sea stores, a bunch of ballparks. We just now got online where we can produce tons and tons a week, so now becomes our business development realm and securing more distribution opportunities. Our goal is to deliver the finest boiled peanut in the world and we’re making strides toward doing that,” he said.

He will also continue try to deliver the boiled peanut to a higher status.

“I think everybody likes boiled peanuts. And quite frankly, if they do not, it’s because they don’t know about them yet,” Jester said.

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