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10:34 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Marvins Window: Peanuts for Thanksgiving

I was nibbling on a peanut butter sandwich as I gazed out my window this week talking to family in South Georgia's peanut country.

I had been reading a copy of the latest Peanut Patriot, a peanut grower magazine that I helped launch.

It was like visiting old friends, many of whom I had written about during the 1990s while working at a newspaper in peanut country.

The magazine was named Peanut Patriot long before the Sept.

11 terrorist attacks made patriotism politically correct.

Waving the flag and supporting American troops has also been part of the southern culture.

Never mind that some of them get mixed up and wave the confederate flag!

The magazine had an article about peanut butter going to Afghanistan to feed the military and refugees.

Tara Foods is an Albany, Ga.

Company that makes peanut butter for Kroger stores using Georgia peanuts.

About 75 percent of the peanuts grown in the U.S.

and used for peanut butter are grown in that region.

The plant is located in a former munitions warehouse on the defunct Turner Air Base, one of two pilot training centers in Albany during WW II.

Like Kingman, a lot of Albany industry and the local airport are located on old WW II air bases.

The peanut butter product is packaged in Atlanta in a "Meals Ready to Eat" pack and in C-rations.

Roger Templeton, Tara Foods plant manager, said the packaged peanut butter is user-friendly, requires no refrigeration, special storage or preparation and is a high-energy food.

He calls it a good substitute for meat.

More than 250,000 pounds of the peanut butter product had gone to Afghanistan by the end of October.

A similar product was used in the Gulf War.

Peanut farmers, shellers and food manufacturers have been funding nutrition research for peanuts since the mid90s.

Doctors and dieticians told people to eat popcorn snacks and stay away from peanuts.

They thought peanuts were full of cholesterol and bad for the heart.

They felt the high fat peanut and other nuts would make people gain weight.

The Harvard School of Public Health and a Penn State study are quoted in a nutrition article in the same magazine showing peanuts to be both good for the heart and that peanuts will help us lose weight.

The research shows peanuts contain no cholesterol at all! No one had actually analyzed peanuts to see what was there.

In the Harvard study, dieters left to choose their own food increased the peanut butter consumption by almost a serving per day (two tablespoons) and three times as many stayed on the "Mediterranean-style" weight loss diet.

Other foods included healthy olive, peanut and canola oils and a small amount of avocados.

The Penn State study showed that peanuts and other nuts lower cholesterol.

Pecans have the same healthy result on the heart.

A study at Loma Linda in California gave a good report on all nuts.

That should be good news to all you nut lovers during this holiday season!

When I was not writing about peanuts or cotton in Georgia, I was writing about pecans.

I had a lot of fun taking pictures of bright yellow fields of canola each spring.

Acres and acres of bright yellow canola always added great color photos for the first issues after a drab and rainy winter season.

One of the farmers I wrote about is now chairman of the National Peanut Board set up by farmers and the industry to fund research and promote peanuts.

They tax themselves to raise the funds.

He and the board were meeting in Atlanta on Sept.

11.

The meeting was cut from four days to two days because speakers could not get to the meeting.

He said the group got a lot of work done but it was tense for those who could not fly home after the meeting.

A young farmer in the county where I lived in Georgia is now president of peanut grower group.

He is struggling to find a way to make a living farming with cotton prices half what they have been in recent years, major changes in the peanut market and higher equipment costs.

The Peanut Patriot was full of articles about money management and cost control.

Farmers know how to get top yields and are looking for ways to do it for less so they can make a little money.

If you eat enough peanuts and pecans and use that peanut butter in moderation, you could help your heart, lose weight and help my farmer friends in Georgia.

The nutrition studies and the diet information are at www.peanut-institute.org on the Internet.