Small-Scale Production Possibilities for Peanuts in Pennsylvania

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2018: $3,516.00
Projected End Date: 04/15/2020
Grant Recipient: Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Sarah Bay Nawa
Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative


  • Agronomic: peanuts


  • Crop Production: row covers (for season extension), varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Peanuts are loved by many, yet very few, if any, are grown and marketed in Pennsylvania or the surrounding region. If peanuts can be a viable crop here, potential may exist to create a new market for fresh, organic peanuts through Tuscarora Organic Growers (TOG) Cooperative, located in south central Pennsylvania, and even beyond. With this project, I would like to determine which growing technique and peanut variety can produce the highest yields within a small scale organic production system for our Pennsylvania climate. I will also determine what the calculated profit margin of these techniques will be based on market pricing through the TOG cooperative. I will trial two varieties of peanuts known for their shorter growing season, along with a combination of techniques which include transplanting, direct seeding, row cover, and hilled and flat beds. With the creative use of growing techniques and potentially less disease and pest pressure than traditional peanut producing regions, peanuts could prove to be a great niche product for our area. Results will be presented to the forty plus farmers of the TOG cooperative and at two regional farming conferences. Hopefully, the outcomes will encourage others to trial and experiment with peanuts on farm operations small and large.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    To determine which technique and variety for growing organic peanuts on a small scale will produce the highest marketable yield for this climate and region based on these questions:

    Can transplanted peanuts produce more than direct seeded peanuts? Does row cover increase the yield for either technique? 

    Do hilled beds increase yields? 

    When compared to Valencia peanuts, will black peanut varieties like Schronce’s Deep Black, produce larger yields while also creating a niche peanut product? 

    Each of these questions will be answered by measuring the weight in pounds of dried, marketable fresh peanuts in several categories for each variety. To determine what profit can be made based upon the results of this project and the price per pound that could be received through the market of Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative.  Hopefully these numbers will encourage farmers to continue to grow and experiment with organic peanuts in this region.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.