While plenty of South Carolinians prefer their peanuts boiled, other iterations 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.
Named for R.P. Gillespie, the grandfather of the farm's proprietor, Gill Rogers, 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.
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.
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, 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 even a 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."
You'll soon see Gillespie's Peanuts sporting custom labels that represent 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 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."