Thursday, September 11, 2014

Valencia Peanuts at Costco

Valencia Peanuts, with added sweetness and salt, are on sale at my Nashville Costco for 2.75 pounds for $4.97. The peanuts are coated with a thin mixture of salt, sugar, malasses, and honey, but are not overly sweet.

According to the label, 1/4 cup is 160 calories. Information on the Internet indicates Valencia peanuts, without added sugar, are 208 calaries, 1/4 cup. Why this differs is a mystery to me.

In researching, I encountered once again the unfortunate and confusing situation in Portales, New Mexico, where most Valencia peanuts are grown.  The Sunland peanut butter plant in Portales was the source of salmonella poisoning which sickened people in numerous states in 2012. The plant had to file for bankrupcy. 

While in the process of going bankrupt, Sunland had accumulated a large number of Valencia peanuts, purchased by Costco to make peanut butter, which Sunland wanted to retain, Sunland wanted to keep those peanuts as an asset and perhaps file Chapter 11 (reorganization) rather than Chapter 7 (dissolution) bankrupcy. However in December 2013, a court decided the peanuts belonged to Costco, and should not be part of the bankrupcy settlement.

In May, 2014, the Sunland Portales plant was sold at auction to Golden Boy foods, a Canadian company, but the plant has not started peanut butter production as of September, 2014, and the small town of Portales (20,000) is anxiously awaiting the plant opening.  The jobs at the plant were a significant source of town employment.

I'm wondering if the Valencia peanut/Sunland/Costco connection is a coincidence, or if these Kirkland Valencia peanuts are part of the crop bought by Costco that never were turned into peanut butter, and were recovered by Costco.  

Either way, the Kirkland Valencia Peanuts are a tasty snack, and at $4.97 for 2.75 pounds an extraordinary purchase.  


  1. I remember Costco dumped a million jars of peanut butter earlier this year because of the salmonella issue.

    1. Yes, I think that was part of the confusing sequence of Valencia peanut events. I believe the story was that those jars wouldn't seal correctly and were leaking.