We live on the central coast of California, where peanuts are not likely to have been planted, as they need conditions that don't really exist here. I know that they ripen and grow underground, as well. And that a peanut has to be attached to a plant to grow, just as any legume would.
I have asked some of the smartest people I know in two different forums (Readerville.com and MouthfulsFood.com) to come up with an explanation, and none have been able to answer the question I am about to ask you all.
Bob gardens a lot, and has cause to dig around the yard here and there. Two or three times a year, he has encountered a peanut.
A single peanut, in the shell (so I guess that means two peanuts in a single shell?) neither rotten nor in any other way defective.
It's gotten to be a joke, the last 3-4 times Bob's found one. He says nothing, just comes into the house and drops the peanut onto my desk. I say, "WHAT the?" and we laugh.
A few weeks ago, he was working at his friend's house, digging holes for a fence. Bob found a peanut, and showed it to the friend, saying, "I can't believe you have these here, too." The friend excitedly recounted his own identical experience: one peanut in the shell in perfect shape. His friend likewise is completely lacking in a rational explanation for the appearance of the peanuts.
(We are zip code 95073, and the friend is 95003. if that makes any difference to anything.)
Let me add that, until last year, I had never even seen a squirrel here. Birds aren't dropping them, because they're underground, about the depth of a shovel head. We have no chipmunks: they don't live around here. (We do have gophers.) Chipmunks like woods: you'll find them in the Sierra Nevada mountain forests.
So: where in the heck are these mysterious nuts coming from?
It is my fond hope that all the other people who are finding peanuts will come forward and share your experiences. One caveat: if you crack it open, and find it rotten, and eat it anyway, don't come crying to me when you die.
And that concludes this departure from farms and farmers. But maybe a Georgia farmer will crack the nut. So to speak.
That's all for now: I am working on a proposal that's got me really busy for another couple of days. Farms soon, I promise!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "I do not yet know why plants come out of the land or float in streams, or creep on rocks or roll from the sea. I am entranced by the mystery of them, and absorbed by their variety and kinds. Everywhere they are visible yet everywhere occult." —Liberty Hyde Bailey
Thanks for visiting.