One thing that never, ever fails to confuse people is the fact that I’m not allergic to peanuts. Nearly every time I tell someone I’m allergic to tree nuts, I’ll end up getting an earful about how much it sucks that I’ll never be able to try a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a Reese’s Cup or a Butterfinger. (Cue the explanation that no-one really cares about: “Well, you see, peanuts aren’t really nuts; they’re legumes…”)
Point is, I can eat peanuts.
There’s a problem, though. Products that contain or may contain peanuts? Fine. But try finding actual peanuts that don’t come with a “may contain” warning for every tree nut under the sun. Planters, which are everywhere, won’t work—and before you get all excited (like me) and think you’ve finally found a solution: generic brand peanuts are probably cross-contaminated, too. Sorry.
After a whole lot of searching, though, I’ve finally found a brand that works, and (as you may have guessed from the title of this post) it’s Hampton Farms. There are no “may contain” warnings on their bags, but the absence of such warnings guarantees approximately nothing, so I just took that information as a lead. Fortunately, when I emailed Hampton Farms, I received the following reply:
Our in shell peanuts and jarred peanut butters are produced in peanut only facilities. Our shelled peanuts are processed in several locations, some of which handle both peanut and tree nut products, so there is the possibility of cross contamination.
So I guess I have a lot of shelling to do. Bummer, but whatever. At least I’ve found some tree nut–free peanuts, right?
They come in a few flavors: salted, unsalted, raw, Cajun, and hickory smoked. I’ve tried salted and unsalted and, well, they’re definitely peanuts. (I’m not a huge fan of peanuts that’ve been salted in-shell. They always taste like the sea to me—perhaps because they’ve been salted via a salt water solution. But the unsalted peanuts are A-OK.)
I buy them at Fairway, C-Town, or Stop & Shop, but they’re all over, really, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding them. For whatever reason, they’re usually in the produce section. Good luck.