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Gillespie’s Wows the Peanut-Crunching Crowd

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Person holding a handful of green peanuts
Peanuts are one of five crops grown at Rogers Brothers Farm, home of Gillespie's Peanuts.

While plenty of South Carolinians prefer their peanuts boiled, other incarnations of the beloved legume enjoy widespread favor, too. Fat, protein-packed roasted peanuts are a specialty of Rogers Brothers, one of the state's biggest modern row crop farms operating in Darlington and Lee counties.

A Certified South Carolina product, the harvested peanuts are roasted, dressed up in a variety of flavors, then distributed in markets, grocery stores and specialty shops under the brand Gillespie's.

Peanut Flavors

Peanuts in coke bottle
A cold cola plus Gillespie's salted peanuts equal Southern refreshment in a bottle.

There's a variety to satisfy your craving for spicy, sweet, tangy or all three at once: Salted, Spicy Sriracha, Carolina BBQ, Sea Salt & Pepper, Honey Roasted, Caramel Crunch, Lime Margarita, Low Country Boil and everyone's favorite - Chocolate Covered. 

"Most folks say the chocolate-covered peanuts will change your life," said Linzie Batchelor, marketing director for Gillespie's Peanuts. "Probably because once you've eaten them, you can't forget about them!"

In a nod to regional flavor, there's the Low Country Boil variety - roasted peanuts dusted with the same spices you'd use for your Frogmore Stew, a dish in which South Carolina shrimp, corn, potatoes, sausage and onions are cooked together and spiked with spicy seasoning. 

"All eight flavors come in 10-ounce cans-perfect for tailgating, gifting, parties and just snacking in general," Batchelor said. "Two of our flavors-Chocolate Covered and Salted are available in a 20-ounce can. We call this the ‘sharing size'-no one wants to share their 10-ounce cans of peanuts."

And if you're the "peanuts in my cola" kind of peanut lover, the salted variety will slip easily into your soda bottle for a quintessential Southern treat. 

Growing Great Peanuts

Peanut field
Green fields of peanut crops grow in Darlington and Lee counties on Rogers Brothers Farm.

Named for R.P. Gillespie, the grandfather of Gill Rogers who oversees operations at Rogers Brothers Farm, these snacks not only represent South Carolina's only roasted peanut, but a time-honored family tradition of best farm practices.

Since taking over the family business in 1970, he and his two sons have adopted advanced techniques, including new GPS technology to decrease costs and increase crop yields. In addition to peanuts, they also grow soybeans, cotton, corn and wheat in Lee County and Darlington County, home of the famed raceway.

Peel back the lid on a can of Gillespie Peanuts and dig in - each crunchy bite is the result of meticulous care taken from the time the ground is prepared for peanut growing right through picking, processing and packaging.

For example, Rogers chose to grow peanuts with a high-oleic content. This bumps up shelf life and makes them more disease-resistant, while delivering higher levels of monounsaturated fats than other peanuts. While this makes for healthier snacking, you'll be hooked because of the flavor.

Purchasing Peanuts

Cans of Gillespie's peanuts
Customize a trio pack of Gillespie Peanuts for gift-giving.

Gillespie's Peanuts also sport custom labels so you can give a gift that represents your favorite South Carolina schools.

"We are partnering with several small colleges to make custom labels for their peanuts," Batchelor said. "Coker College in Hartsville now has beautiful ‘Coker-Nuts' for sale on their bookstore shelves, and other schools won't be far behind them."

For holiday gift-giving, the trio gift box is always in high demand.

"These are totally customizable and so easy to gift," Batchelor said. "A popular combination is Salted, Caramel Crunch and Chocolate Covered-they are wildly popular at Christmastime."

Bonus: If you're shipping to family or friends, the trio box is practically ready to go; just place your order online.

"Just tape one side, address, and take to the post office or let us ship for you," Batchelor said.

"We made Christmas shopping very easy for our corporate customers last year. We are proud to offer a product that is actually grown in South Carolina that you can send to clients in faraway places. Everyone loves the taste and the personal touch."

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.