Peanuts popular at Capitol

They used to call it “The City Different” years ago.

I haven’t heard Santa Fe called that in a while though, I checked last week and it is indeed still different.

I’ve written a whole lot of New Mexico Legislature stories over the years but strangely enough I had never been in Santa Fe while the Legislature was in town until this week.

The work life of small town newspaperman never jived with actually taking a trip to the state capitol to watch lawmakers in action when you could pick up the phone and get the story without being on the scene.

I always figured some day I would get up there to see the circus but I never quite envisioned the way it would happen. Tuesday morning I was busy with other volunteers from the Portales community distributing peanuts under the Big Top of the roundhouse.

Valencia peanuts are what Portales is known for and the Roosevelt County Chamber, where I am executive director, takes full advantage of the connection our city and the addictive goobers have with each other.

The fame of Portales peanuts is truly amazing. Everyone in the capitol building offices knew they were coming and expected to get a bag. People that didn’t even have an office there chased us down the hallways to get their hands on a bag of the luscious legumes.

At our booth at the legislative reception where we were giving out peanuts, I gave my spiel about Valencia peanuts being sweeter than other varieties with brighter hulls and more kernels per hull dozens of times. Granted it’s probably more than most people want to know but my dad and granddad were both peanut pickers and I’m pretty proud of what we’ve got here.

I give that same talk to our service people every month at Cannon Air Force Base’s New Commando orientations. The question I often get there is: “Do they have boiled peanuts here?”

I always said no but I wasn’t sure why, so I asked peanut guru Jimmie Shearer as I was picking up peanuts at Sunland to take to Santa Fe. He told me that in Florida, where many of our Air Force newcomers have been stationed, peanuts are boiled fresh there because they plant so that they constantly have peanuts being harvested in the long growing season. He said the taste is good but different.

We don’t boil peanuts here because of the short growing season and one harvest time.

No one in Santa Fe asked if we had boiled peanuts. They were tickled with what we brought.

I don’t know if supplying legislators and lobbyists with peanuts bought us any political favor or not. I do know that after dumping 22 cases on the joint, someone had better find a way to open a window or two there at the Merry Roundhouse.