Heading north on I-95 through Georgia are roadside signs in bright red marker luring you to stop. They promise fresh peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, Vidalia onions, and boiled peanuts. At Exit 58, we leave the highway for "Mrs. T's Diner-Southern Country Cooking." Soon we spot a house with a large porch laden with baskets of fruits and vegetables. When we stop, a young man quickly jumps to his feet, takes off his earphones, waves, and smiles. We ask for a local specialty: boiled peanuts.
Robbie, a born salesman, eagerly lets us share the batch boiled a few hours earlier.
Then he explains the peanuts are available May through November. They are boiled in lightly salted water for five to seven hours. The result is a soggy, meaty, and slightly salty snack.
Robbie boils his in a large vat on the side of the house and then transfers them to a crockpot so they stay warm. They are not meant to be stored for more than a day or so.
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With the temperature gauge pushing 102 degrees, this is a hot business. But Robbie is saving for his college fund. He's all smiles as he washes down his peanuts with a cold root beer.