Last Sunday, while checking out the new Sunday Farmers’ Market at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, I met a man who sells peanuts. For the last 18 years, Gianpaolo “Jonny” Danti has been selling his home-roasted peanuts at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market. He’s a regular at the Saturday market on the square, but now you can sample his peanuts on Sundays as well.
Jonny began selling peanuts years ago after aquiring his fathers peanut roaster and shipping it across land and sea from Italy to Arkansas. The wood fire roaster is now 30 years old and roasts about 500 lbs of peanuts at a time. Jonny explained that because temperature is imprecise in wood fire roasting, each batch of peanuts comes out with a unique taste. At the market, you can pick up a snack-sized bag of peanuts, or more to share with friends. Jonny even offers peanuts for events and parties as a unique snack offering. He purchases various varieties of peanuts from New Mexico, selling organic peanuts to Ozark Natural Foods, and non-organic peanuts at the Farmers’ Market.
I asked Jonny, “Why peanuts” and he gave me some compelling answers. First of all, peanuts are a great source of energy, but still relatively cheap due to their abundance in food products. Due to their shells, they are fairly hard to adulterate. Best of all, he added, they make an excellent southern summer snack. When the days get really hot and sweaty, foods that are salty and oily really hit the spot. As our bodies sweat out salt and water, we crave salt to replenish our supply and oil to retain the water. The days keep getting hotter right? So, go get yourself some peanuts!
While Jonny is primarily a peanut man, each year, he harvests an acre of blueberries on his farm, Bur Oak Farm, in Fayetteville. He’ll be selling blueberries at the market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays until they run out, so be sure to get some soon. He also sells sapling trees at his stand and can offer advice on planting them. Depending on the time of year, you might find him selling a few other items, but you’ll just have to visit his stand to find out about those. It’s worth taking a moment to talk with Jonny. My friend and I found his accent and demeanor to be quite charming.
Jonny and a handful of other vendors are trying out selling at the new Sunday Market at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks. If business goes well, they’ll stick around and others will likely join them. The setting at the Botanical Gardens is perfect for a farmers’ market, and makes for a beautiful Sunday morning stroll. I encourage all our readers to head out to the gardens this Sunday to try some of Jonny’s peanuts and blueberries.
Have you checked out the Sunday market at the Botanical Gardens? What did you like about it?