For thee seventeen plus years we've lived in Roanoke, we have taken part in a few peanut discussions. Among those who really love peanuts, the debate as to which are best usually ranges from Virginia Diner to Hubs.
Once in a while another name slips in, but mostly since people started caring that their peanuts were something other than Planters, Hubs and Virginia diner has set the standard.
About three years ago, we started visiting Beaufort, NC and were introduced to peanuts sold by local church group under their own label. No only were they good, but they also seemed better than the Virginia peanuts we were used to eating. Pretty soon we had brought some back for neighbors. It didn't take long before we were getting requests to bring back some more of those church peanuts.
They come in glass jars that say approximate weight 8.5 ounces and sell for $3.25 these days. The thing is that they just seem like fresher and better peanuts. Perhaps they're done in small batches, but for whatever reason, they're the peanut for us and some friends who have shared our secret.
They have one other advantage, you don't have to go to an expensive gift store to buy them. In fact yesterday I was headed to Wilmington from the Cape Carteret area at around 7 am. One of my unfulfilled chores was to pick up peanuts before heading home.
There is not much open at 7 am in the Swansboro area, but the Ace Hardware on Highway 24 was shining brightly at that time of morning so I pulled in and sure enough they had plenty of church peanuts that I could haul back to Virginia.
There was an added benefit. When I mentioned that we had a lot of rain the previous night, I was quickly told that their rain gauge had shown two inches. Early morning shopping and some weather information is hard to beat.
Another coastal tradition that we have carried back to Virginia is the Core Sound "Crab trap" Christmas tree by Neal Harvey in Davis, NC.
I think it is a great idea. It's made from PVC coated crab trap wire. It folds up easily in a very small size.
Of course the tree won't cause as much controversy as NC peanuts being labeled as better than Virginia ones.