Peanut boil brings in $60K

Published 7:47 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The World’s Largest Peanut Boil just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

This year, the Crenshaw County Shrine Club sold right at 17 tons of peanuts and grossed a little over $60,000, according to Shrine Club President Shelton Morrell.

“We started selling peanuts on Sept. 1, and we sold out late Sunday night,” Morrell said.

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Morrell and Shrine Club Vice President Chuck Gorey drove to Jay, Fla., to pick up 14 tons of peanuts on Sept. 1, but by Saturday, they had to call for two more tons. They also had to get one more ton of parched peanuts.

“This was one of the largest peanut boils we’ve ever had,” Morrell said.

Basically 100 percent of the peanuts that are bought by the Shriners these days are sold because they’ve already been cleaned. Even so, the peanut boil is a lot of hard work, and it could not be done without the help of a lot of people, Morrell said.

“Last week, it was a little rough on us because so many have their regular jobs and couldn’t be off, but we had a tremendous amount of volunteers over the weekend, so everything went great,” he said.

Morrell, who has been a Shriner since 2002, has been involved with the peanut boil since he was in the ninth grade—or since 1986.

“I was a Key Club member, and that was the first time I helped—and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

“This is my first tenure as president, and I hope to see the peanut boil get bigger and bigger,” he said.

“I’ve heard a lot of people commenting these last few days on how good the peanuts were this year and how much they enjoyed them, and that was great to hear,” he said. “If this peanut boil is dedicated to anyone, it should be dedicated to the community that has supported us so much over the years—we get a lot of travelers who stop by, but most of our peanuts go to homes right here, and it’s the local people that keep it growing.”

And with that continued growth brings newer and more innovative ways to boil more peanuts all at one time. This includes having a much larger cooker, which holds much more than the regular black iron pots.

“Mark Knox drove to Jay, Fla., on Saturday and picked up a second larger cooker just so we could keep up with the demand,” Morrell said.

Even though the sales grossed a little over $60,000, the final profit won’t be known until all the bills are paid. Even so, Morrell said that amount was “huge.”

And all of that would certainly have not been possible without the help of so many volunteers. Morrell gave a special thanks to them.

“We need people to bag peanuts, sweep floors, empty the pots, take up the money—it’s a chain, and everyone is extremely important in every link of that chain,” he said.

Plus, there is always an open invitation to anyone in the community who would like to come out and help.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s worth it.”

The peanut boil is a club fundraiser for the Shriners. Morrell said that the club looks for specific needs that it can contribute money to in order to bring relief to those needs, whether they are on the state or local level.

Chuck Gorey is the Shrine Club’s vice president, Mark Knox is treasurer, and Andy Compton is secretary.

“The older generations built this peanut boil to what it is today,” Morrell said. “It’s time for us younger ones to step up and pick it up and let the older ones enjoy the fruits of their labor.”