In Jay, Florida, right in the middle of a peanut field by a 1930s Farm Museum, I strolled by booths with churches dishing out delicious dinners and desserts and crafters selling everything from needlework to Conceal and Carry gun-toting purses.
Politicians were pressing palms, gospel groups were singing, authors were selling their books, and home cooks were sampling their honeys, jams and pickled okra.
I hadn’t enjoyed a fall festival so much since we went to the Apple Cider Festival in Topeka, Kansas. Good, old-fashioned outdoor fun. Of course it helped that a brisk “cool front” lingered for most of the day. Sweater weather in Florida.
Tonie’s Gumbo House was serving Seafood Gumbo (a combo of ham, chicken, sausage, shrimp, crab), so I had a nice-tasting bowl full. However, I wish she’d added a little peanutty flavor to match the atmosphere.
We bought a giant $12 bag of peanuts and gorgeous mums (imported from Alabama). I didn’t find any peanut butter, but I did see peanut brittle and peanut divinity and some unusual sights – from dogs in costume for a pet parade to middle school boys giggling about their rebel flag purchases. Better wear it, boys, cause mama isn’t gonna’ let you hang it.
The cool front is still lingering and I’ve got a hunger for gumbo with a roux with a strong peanutty flavor. I’m off to the market for ingredients to make one of these African-style gumbos made with peanut butter. I only wish I had home-churned peanut butter from the Jay Peanut Festival to plop in it. Enjoy the weather!