Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 58 of 203

century building that was formerly a country store. Since you needed someone to be up front collecting the furniture, they decided to incorporate gifts on consignment, from calico to pork and peanuts." When The Peanut Patch first opened in 1973, Southampton County was one of the largest peanut-producing counties in the world. "At the time, you could drive by fields and fields and not find a single place to purchase a bag of peanuts," Jane recalls. But locals were well aware of how good the Virginia peanut was and regularly made roasted peanuts, peanut brittle, and other specialty peanut products. The Riddick family decided to start selling peanut treats crafted by people throughout the state. The Peanut Patch gift shop quickly became a destination, with Virginia pea- nuts one of the main attractions. Seeing an opportunity, the Riddicks decided to try their hand at roasting. They perfected their recipe and launched the Peanut Patch brand in 1984, advertising the product with a hand-designed f lyer. Instead of stripping old paint off of furniture, their evenings after school became focused on roasting and packing gift boxes with peanut brittle, peanut fudge, and simple peanuts. The Peanut Patch finally made its debut at the Fancy Food Show in 1987, much to the chagrin of the attendees. "My mom and Aunt Gay drove to New York City in a beat-up van, backed up to the Javits Center, and hand-carried the booth and products one trip at a time," Jane says. The booth was located next to a cashew supplier, and people stopping by asked why peanuts should be considered a gourmet food. "People laughed and said, 'Peanuts, what's so special about peanuts?'" Jane recalls. "Our family has devoted much of its time to educating the world about the qual- ity and unique f lavor of the Virginia peanut and has tried to bring it to the same status as cashews." Over time, the business slowly grew and evolved. The team added old ware- producer profile 56 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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