Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - Page 12 News List

The peanut as art

An understanding of the expressive power of art helps a couple in Fenglin take the humble peanut from the market stall to online gourmet commodity

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Staff reporter

“An artist uses different mediums, whether it is oil paints or an installation art to express what he or she wants to say and connect with their audience. You can see peanuts as being much more than just a commodity. You can see it as a work of art, and we are the artists who are making it expressive.”

buying local

Liang buys her peanuts from local farmers in the Fenglin area. As a small business dependent on a wide range of suppliers, Liang said that Goodeatss does not label itself as organic, but adds that “many of the elderly Aboriginal farmers we purchase from use natural agricultural methods. But many of the Han Chinese farmers continue to use chemicals, and in this case, we are only able to do our best to make sure we only use these peanuts when the chemicals have dissipated by keeping track of their farming practices,” Liang said. She added that many farmers found it ridiculous that they should take suggestions to adopt natural farming methods from these farming newbies seriously.

“When we started out, my father-in-law took us to meet the farmers, one farm at a time. In addition to learning about how to prepare the peanuts from my in-laws, I also learned to farm peanuts. The farmers, like my mother-in-law, are all getting on, and their knowledge needs to be passed on.”

Liang said that she tells customers that the peanuts are not organic. Instead, she explains where each batch of peanuts comes from and the farming practices used for that batch.

“We want them to understand that although dry fried peanuts are a processed food, peanuts themselves are a product of the soil, and they differ depending on the practices of each individual farmer, where they are grown, the weather and soil … When we first started out, we were quite concerned about the lack of uniformity in the size, texture and so on of the peanuts. We felt it should be a consistent experience for our customers. As we have lived and worked here, getting to know this land better, we would now rather that they learn to appreciate the variety.”

Liang said that she has recently bought land to begin peanut cultivation, drawing on the experience of local farmers and her own ideas of what she wants for Goodeatss Peanuts. “It is a way of giving something back to the land,” she said.

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