Marvin Baker was told repeatedly that you can’t grow peanuts in North Dakota. Since then, he’s harvested more than 100 pounds of the crop. Why he went against the odds.
It all started with his dad.
“He loved peanuts and when he was getting up in age and couldn’t really get out and do anything anymore, I thought, ‘Well, maybe I could grow some peanuts for him,” says Marvin Baker, Owner/Operator of North Star Farms.
He reached out to businesses to buy organic peanut seeds, but no one would take his money.
“It’s that saying that, ‘You can’t grow peanuts in North Dakota.’ I mean, people in New Mexico have told me that. People in Minnesota have told me that,” says Baker.
Eventually he found a place in Virginia to send him organic seeds and planted his first peanuts in 2005. That year, they ended up with a yield of about 25lbs –a big success.
“We’ve been growing it ever since,” says Baker.
Because we have a short growing season in North Dakota, he waits for a killing frost before harvesting.
“We do all of this by hand,” says Baker.
They use a potato fork to uproot the plants, shake off the dirt, and individually pick off the mature peanuts. Each plant is different and some have as many as 40 attached.
“This one had nothing. And they’re planted right next to each other,” says Baker.
The peanuts hold a lot of moisture so once they’re gathered up, he takes them into his garage and lays them out on screens to aerate.
All the hard work is paid off in the end, just in time for this baseball-lover.
“I just like to munch on peanuts and have a beer while I’m watching the World Series. Well, they’re our own peanuts!” says Baker.
Which -for him- taste especially good because remember:
“You can’t grow peanuts in North Dakota,” Baker says with a laugh.
Baker’s expecting a good yield this year, because he says he went a little overboard and put in 1,300 plants.