CLARKTON, NC (WECT) - Each month, we select a North Carolina farmer that has made a contribution to agriculture.
John Lennon is famous for at least two things. He shares his name with a former Beatle and people know him and his family for what he grows on his Columbus County farm.
On land about three miles north of Clarkton, Lennon grows about seventy five acres of peanuts.
Many pounds of the nuts go to a peanut processing factory, which will dry roast the nuts and sell them around the country. But he always grows enough so he can sell boiled peanuts from a stand along Highway 701 north of Clarkton. Lennon says the land in the area is the right type for his farming operation.
"I learned when I worked for the Soil and Water Conservation Service several years ago that this stretch of land, from Elizabethtown to Tabor City, along Highway 701, is a very good strip and land, really good for tobacco and peanuts, and is well drained," said Lennon.
Lennon graduated from North Carolina State University and came back to his family's farm in the Western Prong area of Columbus County to help his father and brother with their farming operation.
In late August and into September, the peanuts are ready to be dug out of the ground. Lennon runs the tractor, turning the vines up. Then farm workers take those vines from the field to the farm buildings, where the nuts are hand-picked.
After washing them, the peanuts are boiled in giant cookers, then dumped onto a table to be sorted before being put into ten pounds bags for sale at his family's road side stand.
In the spring, Lennon grows several acres of sweet corn because people are always looking for fresh produce.
Like many of his neighbors, he used to grow tobacco, but now it is acres of cotton you'll find in their fields. Thru the years, he has seen economic up's and down's, and is always mindful that weather plays a major role in how the crops produce.
"That, and the price of fuel," said Lennon. "We have grown some crops over the years that the fuel costs were higher than the returns."
John Moore Lennon of Clarkton certainly has the "can do" spirit of the North Carolina farmer.
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